"That was awesome," said starter CC Sabathia, the main beneficiary of the triple play. "Any time you get a triple play, you're fired up. These guys did a great job."
It all started with Alexi Casilla on second, Nick Markakis on first and Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado at the plate. Machado roped a line drive toward Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, who fielded the ball on a short hop.
Cano quickly flipped to shortstop Jayson Nix for the first out and -- with Casilla initially freezing on the line drive -- Nix had time to pivot and fire to third baseman Kevin Youkilis, catching Casilla in a rundown.
After exchanging throws with Nix, Youkilis chased down and tagged out Casilla for the second out. In the midst of that rundown, Machado had rounded first and thought about taking off for second, allowing Youkilis to rifle to first baseman Lyle Overbay, setting off another rundown.
"I think you're thinking two [outs]," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "When the ball goes to third, you're like, 'All right, well that was pretty good, we kept them out of scoring position.' Then all of a sudden you see the other guy stray off and you say, 'Well we might as well get three.'"
And that's exactly what happened, as Overbay quickly relayed the ball to Cano, who tagged out Machado sliding into second base. Overbay admitted afterward he was worried his throw was going to miss its target because Machado's path to second impeded on Overbay's ideal throwing lane.
"Right when I threw it, I was like, 'I screwed this up' because I thought there was no way Robbie was going to catch that ball," Overbay said. "I'm glad he's a lot better than a lot of people."
As for Sabathia, who was also on the mound for the triple play turned in 2010, he had a much different thought process as the play was unraveling.
"I'm just saying, 'Please don't let me get in this rundown," Sabathia joked. "I see Youk running down Casilla, and I'm thinking hopefully Machado is running, which he was, and we're able to get the triple play."
As for benefiting from the only two triple plays turned by the Yankees in nearly 45 years, Sabathia added: "It bailed me out both times. I'm definitely grateful for them."
Involved in the first triple play of its kind Friday night, Youkilis said accomplishments like that are the reason he still plays the game.
"That's one of the coolest things I've ever had on the field," Youkilis said. "You never see one written up like that. It's special. It's one of those things where it's a job and it's a grind at times, but when stuff like that happens, you feel like you're back playing Little League again. That's the fun part about it."