Triple play a first for delighted Phils' infielders

Franco, Hernandez and Joseph shut down Padres with 5-4-3 gem

Triple play a first for delighted Phils' infielders

SAN DIEGO -- Maikel Franco summed up those 4.6 seconds in the seventh inning Sunday at Petco Park perfectly.

"It's a beautiful thing, huh?" he said with a big smile. "Oh, I like it."

Franco, Cesar Hernandez and Tommy Joseph turned the 32nd triple play in franchise history in a 6-5 victory over the Padres at Petco Park, and it came at a critical point in the game, too. Phillies right-hander Edubray Ramos had walked Derek Norris and Jose Rondon to start the inning when Jabari Blash hit a ground ball to Franco, who caught the ball and quickly stepped on third base before throwing to Hernandez at second.

Hernandez took the throw on the bag and threw to Joseph at first to complete the team's first triple play since Aug. 23, 2009, when Eric Bruntlett turned a game-ending unassisted triple play against the Mets at Citi Field. It was the Phillies' first 5-4-3 triple play since April 21, 2007, when Abraham Nunez, Chase Utley and Wes Helms turned one in Cincinnati.

"Yeah, as soon as he hit the ball, I knew because it was close to the base," Franco said, thinking he had a shot at a triple play. "I just thought I'd go to second. After that, whatever happens happens."

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It took Franco 1.01 seconds to catch the ball, step on third and throw to Hernandez, according to Statcast™. It took Hernandez 0.5 seconds to catch Franco's throw and throw to Joseph. Hernandez's throw clocked at 70.2 mph.

Blash hit the bag 4.69 seconds after he hit the ball, arriving just a tad after the throw.

"I didn't know if he was going to throw to second or first, but I always go there just to be ready," Hernandez said. "Every time there's a ground ball to third base, I go to second. It's my instinct."

Joseph said he thought Franco would step on third base and throw to first, but he certainly is glad he got greedy and tried for three.

"I've told these guys a couple of times: I thought I would hit into one before I would be on the successful end of one," Joseph said. "That's pretty awesome, needless to say.

"Maik just knew what he was doing, which is what you're supposed to do as an infielder. Be heads-up. Know the play. We had a good runner to do it on. It all worked out. It was a heck of a play. Fun to be a part of."

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Franco, Hernandez, Joseph and Ramos said they had never been part of a triple play before.

"It was exciting," Hernandez said.

"That's pretty cool," Franco said. "It helped the team. First and second, nobody out. To get out of that is a beautiful thing for me and my team."

Nobody was happier than Ramos, who got bailed out of a big jam.

"It really, really helped me," he said. "If they ask me to (buy them dinner) I would because I really owe them one."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.