Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Triple play keys Milwaukee?s defensive dominance of Dodgers

For a team not recognized as a defensive stalwart, the Milwaukee Brewers sure flashed a lot of leather in shaking down the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.

The Crew turned a slick triple play and added four double plays to help them seal a 3-0 victory at Miller Park. In winning 17 of 19, the Brewers have pushed themselves to 20 games over .500 and six games ahead in the NL Central.

Most of their success has come because of strong hitting and OK pitching. But they turned in a complete defensive effort against the Dodgers.

Most notably, the triple play.

The Dodgers put the first two men on base in the second inning against lefty Randy Wolf, and James Loney hit a tricky grounder up the middle. Josh Wilson picked it up and made a quick glove flip to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, who stepped on second base and relayed to Prince Fielder at first base for the second out.

Matt Kemp kept running around third and Fielder pivoted to relay home. His throw was off the mark a bit, forcing catcher George Kottaras to reach, but he had enough time to reach back and tag Kemp's left hand just before it touched the plate. Kemp, as the photo shows, couldn't believe umpire Mike Winters' call. But he was out.

Watch them turn three

The sixth triple play in Brewers franchise history was a thing of beauty.

"You never really plan on those things happening," Kottaras said. "It was really amazing."

And the kind of moment that makes it seem like it's Milwaukee's year. Meanwhile, the Dodgers were left scratching their heads.

The kind of triple play it was ? the order in which the Dodgers baserunners were retired ? was rare.

[It] was scored second-to-shortstop-to-first-to-catcher, only the sixth such trifecta since 1876, according to the Society for American Baseball Research. The last such play, according to SABR, was in April 1973, when the Expos turned it against the Padres in Montreal.

The Dodgers also could blame themselves for offensive failures.

L.A. starting pitcher Ted Lilly gave up two hits over seven innings but left trailing. The Dodgers out-hit the Brewers 7-6, and drew five walks against Wolf, but had too many unfortunate at-bats where multiple outs were made with one swing.

Milwaukee outfielder Jerry Hairston threw out a runner at home ? though why slow-as-anything Dioner Navarro was sent is anyone's guess. Hairston also made an all-out diving catch and threw out Andre Ethier at first to complete one of the double plays.

Three of the double plays turned by Milwaukee, and the triple play, occurred in the first five innings.

"There were some weird things that were going on," Lilly said.

It's been that kind of season for the Dodgers.

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Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Triple-play-keys-Milwaukee-s-defensive-dominance?urn=mlb-wp16060

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