Not many people can say they've witnessed a triple play. Even fewer can claim to have turned one.
Shortstop Jack Lopez joined both clubs Sunday.
Winston-Salem scored three times during the sixth inning at Wilmington, but the damage could have been much worse if not for a defensive gem turned by the Class A Advanced Blue Rocks, who ultimately lost, 6-1.
With nobody out, Grant Buckner on second and Omar Narvaez at first, Justin Jirschele lined a pitch from reliever Yender Caramo right at second basemen Ramon Torres. The runners were in motion during the play, so when Torres caught the ball and flipped it to shortstop Jack Lopez for the first out, Lopez stepped on second base for the second out and then tagged Narvaez for the third out.
"We were really excited," Lopez said. "I've been around baseball for a while with my dad [former Minor Leaguer Juan Lopez]. I think it's the first time I've ever seen one and been a part of, you know, me being there, seeing it personally with my own eyes. It was pretty exciting."
Caramo entered for starter Sean Manaea in the sixth inning with the Blue Rocks leading by one run, thanks to a solo homer off the bat of Cody Stubbs in the second. He began the frame by hitting Jason Coats with a pitch, before serving up consecutive singles to Keon Barnum, Nick Basto, Buckner and Narvaez.
"They kind of got us in shock," Lopez said. "They had quite a few hits in a row -- four -- and we saw that they set up a hit-and-run with their runners at first and second. We were kind of surprised but happy at the same time, since we were able to get out of the inning."
It was Wilmington's first play since April 16, 2012. Prior to that, the Royals affiliate (1993-2004 and 2007-present) had not collected one since 1997.
"The triple play was something else," manager Darryl Kennedy said. "That helped us out. That kept us in the ballgame. First and second, they had already gotten three on the board. Nobody out. That really kept us in the game there. Defensively, I thought we played a pretty good ballgame. We couldn't get the hits in bunches."
Caramo (4-6) suffered a blown save in addition to the loss. In two innings, he was charged with three runs on five hits. Winston-Salem starter James Dykstra (2-0) picked up the win, allowing one run on five hits in eight innings. He retired 12 batters in a row to end his outing.
Buckner went 3-for-3 with a home run, four RBIs and a walk.