The triple play already is one of the rarest plays in baseball, but the one the Lakeland Flying Tigers turned Sunday might be one of a kind.
Clinging to a two-run lead in the eighth inning, Lakeland turned a pop fly into a triple play during which Marauders manager Carlos Garcia was ejected. The Flying Tigers survived a rally in the ninth and edged Bradenton, 4-3.
Robbie Grossman and Aaron Baker walked to open the eighth for the Marauders against reliever Kevin Hess. Adalberto Santos hit a popup to shallow right field, where Avisail Garcia made an apparent sliding catch. As Garcia rolled over, however, the ball got away from him and both runners advanced a base.
First base umpire Jose Rivera ruled it a catch, and the Flying Tigers were able to double Grossman off second base and nab Baker for the triple play.
Carlos Garcia had charged across the diamond from the third-base coach's box to argue with Rivera, who tossed him while the play was unfolding. Grossman was ejected after the inning and had to be separated from Rivera by teammates.
The triple play was the first Bradenton has hit into in its current incarnation -- the franchise became the Marauders prior to last season. It also was the first turned by Lakeland since 2005.
Bradenton nearly tied it in the ninth as Carlos Paulino singled with one out and Calvin Anderson doubled. Kelson Brown followed with an RBI groundout, but Benji Gonzalez struck out to end the game with the tying run on third.
Jared Wesson (5-3) earned the win after allowing a run on four hits over 6 1/3 innings. Marauders starter Quinton Miller (2-5) surrendered four runs on seven hits in six frames.