The triple play is one of the rarest occurrences in baseball, so rare that the Double-A Springfield Cardinals had not completed one in their eight-year history. That was until Greg Garcia came along.
The Cardinals shortstop prospect made a sliding grab to start a triple play in the fifth inning Wednesday before Springfield dropped a 6-1 decision to the Arkansas Travelers.
With runners on first and second, Ryan Mount hit a humpback liner over Garcia's head. The 22-year-old shortstop went back to make a sliding catch, then threw to second base to double up Jean Segura.
"I knew it was going to be tough for our outfielder, Kyle Conley, to get to it," Garcia said. "I knew I had to go for it. The center fielder [Adam Melker] let me know it's your ball or no one's ball. I was able to slide and make the play."
Second baseman Kolten Wong fired to first but threw wildly. Backing up the play, catcher Travis Tartamella retrieved the ball and nailed Renny Osuna at second.
"It was a tough read for those baserunners because they wanted to advance but didn't know if I would catch it," Garcia said.
"When I caught it and turned to look, I saw both runners were far off and knew we had a chance. I tried to get the ball in as quickly as possible. Kolten had a tough throw -- a runner was in his throwing lane. It's pretty cool how it worked out."
Garcia said the triple play was the first he'd been a part of or seen in person since he was a kid.
"I think the last triple play I've ever been a part of was maybe in Little League," he added. "Nothing in real, competitive baseball. It was pretty exciting."
It turned out to be the lone highlight for the Cardinals as Ariel Pena (4-4) pitched a seven-hitter for the Travelers' second straight complete game. Casey Haerther led Arkansas at the plate with a pair of homers and four RBIs.
The Cardinals will finish the first half of the Texas League season with a four-game set against Northwest Arkansas. The teams are tied for second place in the North Division, three games behind Tulsa.
"We've been going on a little run here, trying to win the first half," Garcia said. "Our whole clubhouse is trying to take it one game at a time and play as hard as we can. We'll see what happens with that. As long as we play as hard as we can, there's nothing else we can do. They're a good team, it should be a good series."