KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Royals turned a triple play - with the help of an appeal call - in the second inning Sunday against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
With Aubrey Huff on third and Rocco Baldelli on first, Russell Branyan flied out to David DeJesus in shallow center. Huff came home on the play and Baldelli attempted to take second on the throw home, but was thrown out by pitcher Scott Elarton, who was backing up the throw to the plate.
Angel Berroa tagged out Baldelli and then threw to Mark Teahen at third base as the Royals claimed Huff had left early. Third base umpire Bob Davidson agreed with the appeal and ruled Huff out.
"He left a step early," Teahen said. "It wasn't even close. He definitely left early."
It was the Royals' sixth triple play in franchise history, and the first since April 3, 1996 at Baltimore. It was the first triple play turned against the Devil Rays, who are in their ninth season.
It was the third triple play of the season in the majors, and the first not involving the Minnesota Twins. The Chicago White Sox turned one on May 14 at the Metrodome in their 9-7 victory, and the Twins had one against the Seattle Mariners in a 9-5 victory at home on May 27.
Huff disputed the call.
"I didn't realize that was a triple play," Huff said. "That's how umimpressive that was. It's a joke. You've got to make sure, it has to really be obvious. It cost Branyan a RBI."
Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon argued with Davidson, but to no avail
"Huff didn't do anything wrong," Maddon said. "He tagged appropriately and did not leave early. That triple play totally stands out because of the uniqueness. I can't imagine there has ever been a triple play like that with that combination of numbers (8-1-6-5 in the scorebook)."