Anderson turns third White Sox triple play of '16

Anderson turns third White Sox triple play of '16

CHICAGO -- Three is a lucky number for the White Sox, at least it is concerning triple plays during the 2016 season.

The White Sox turned their third triple play of the season as part of an 11-8 loss to the Braves on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field, coming behind Chris Sale in the third inning. Chase d'Arnaud opened the frame for the Braves with a walk and moved to second on one of Gordon Beckham's three hits in his return to Chicago.

Freddie Freeman then hit a sinking line drive toward shortstop Tim Anderson on a 1-0, 95-mph fastball from Sale, which Anderson trapped, which was immediately signaled by second-base umpire Lance Barrett.

With d'Arnaud going back to the base thinking the ball was caught, Anderson was able to tag him, step on second to force Beckham and throw to first baseman Jose Abreu to get Freeman by a step. It was the first triple play involvement for Anderson.

"When I saw him go back [to second], I knew I had a chance," Anderson said. "Kind of a basketball player in that role. Just my instincts. It just happened so fast."

"I had them right where I wanted them, first and second, nobody out," said a smiling Sale. "It was exactly how I drew it up. It's incredible."

Triple play No. 1 for the White Sox came on April 22 against the Rangers and began with a Mitch Moreland line drive to right fielder Adam Eaton with the bases loaded and nobody out. It finished as a 9-3-2-6-2-5 triple play on the scoresheet.

George Springer's grounder in the eighth on May 18 ignited the action against the Astros with Tony Kemp on second and Jose Altuve at first. Todd Frazier started the around-the-horn triple play on a ground ball that took him right toward third base.

No team since the A's and Red Sox in 1979 have turned three triple plays in the same season. That total becomes four if Spring Training unofficially is included in the equation for this year's White Sox.

Atlanta scored in four of the five innings against Sale, coming up short in the third because of this triple play.

"Our defense has been rock solid the whole year," Sale said. "Just where our coaches are shifting guys, and it just goes to show the homework that not only the players do but the coaches, as well. That was a big sigh of relief."

"You don't count on those," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You don't expect to see one a year let alone three. That one was just positioning and the way the ball was hit at T.A."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.