Colorado limits first-inning damage after first 1-2-5-6 twin-killing since 1983
By Manny Randhawa
DENVER -- With one out in the top of the first inning at Coors Field during the Rockies' 9-6 win over the Dodgers on Sunday, Colorado starter Antonio Senzatela was in a jam, having already given up two runs and facing a two-on situation with Chris Taylor at the plate.
What transpired next was something that hadn't happened in the Major Leagues in nearly 34 years.
The Dodgers put the squeeze play on, and Taylor bunted the ball back to the mound. Senzatela gloved it and tossed home to begin a 1-2-5-6 double play, the first to be completed since the Reds did so on Aug. 3, 1983.
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Justin Turner broke for the plate from third base, but got caught in a rundown. As he was hung up between third and home, Yasmani Grandal broke from second for third. Rockies catcher Dustin Garneau threw to third baseman Nolan Arenado, who quickly tagged out Turner and threw back to third. Shortstop Pat Valaika was there to receive the throw and put the tag on Grandal.
"It was funny, right before it happened, [Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu] told me, 'Hey, they might do something crazy here," Valaika said.
The Dodgers executed a successful squeeze play in Saturday's game, when pitcher Alex Wood dropped down a bunt that scored a run.
"We kind of knew that they liked to do that," Valaika said. "I initially went to second, [and when the rundown happened] I went to third just in case the pitcher doesn't get there or something."
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that with Taylor not hitting well of late, he was hoping for a bunt down the first-base line to score the runner from third.
"We've got to execute in certain situations," Roberts said. "Yeah, [that changed the momentum in the game]. You have a chance to pad on, add on, and it ends up being a double play."
The last team to ground into a 1-2-5-6 double play, back in August of 1983? The Dodgers.
In that game against the Reds, Bill Russell hit a pitch back to the mound with runners at first and second in the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium. Reds pitcher Tom Hume fielded it and started the 1-2-5-6 twin-killing.
The other defensive players involved were catcher Dann Bilardello, third baseman Nick Esasky and shortstop Dave Concepcion. The Dodgers' runners who were tagged out were Steve Sax and Pat Zachry.
"It was kind of crazy," Arenado said of Sunday's play. "Garneau did a good job coming all the way to me -- I hadn't called for it yet. That was actually my game plan, to make sure he gets [Turner] back towards me and see if [Grandal] gets close. So it worked out perfectly."
Now that the Rockies have pulled off the 1-2-5-6 double play, the four players involved become the newest answer to a baseball trivia question.
"Really?" Garneau chuckled when learning of how long it had been since that play had been recorded in the score book. "That's awesome, pretty cool."
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.