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On This Date in Sports August 23, 2009: Mets Cuncel Rally

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With the tying runs on base and no outs in the ninth inning, Jeff Francoeur of the New York Mets hits a line drive that is snagged by Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Eric Bruntlett. With the Mets using a hit and run, Brunlett turned an unassisted triple play to end the game with a 9-7 win for the Phillies. It was just the second time a game in MLB ended with an unassisted triple play.

 Heading into 2009, the rivalry between the Phillies and Mets had never been hotter as Philadelphia, and the Mets battled for the National League East in 2007 and 2008. In 2007 the Phillies benefited from the Mets September collapse and repeated in 2008 on the way to winning the World Series. Managed by Charlie Manuel, the Phillies were on the way to another World Series, while the Mets were having a disastrous season in their first year at Citi Field under Jerry Manuel, sitting 57-66.

 The Mets took the first game of a four-game wraparound series. The Phillies, however, bounced back to take the second game 4-1, spoiling the 40th-anniversary reunion of the 1969 Miracle Mets, a reunion that had the first appearance of Nolan Ryan in a Mets uniform since the disastrous trade in 1971.

 On Sunday afternoon, the Mets had popular Disc Jockey DJAM throw out the first pitch; he died two days later. Pedro Martinez, who had played with the Mets from 2005-2008, was making his third start for Philadelphia, while the Mets had Oliver Perez on the mound. In pure suck mode, Oliver Perez did not make it out of the first inning, giving up a pair of three-run home runs to Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz. Nelson Figueroa came on to strikeout Perdo to end the inning.

 Down 6-0, the Mets got a run back as Angel Perez hit a leadoff inside the park home run in the spacious Citi Field, in the days of the great wall of Flushing. The Mets added a second run in the first when Luis Castillo scored on a triple by Jeff Francoeur. The Phillies got two runs back in the third as Pedro Martinez had an RBI single, while Pedro Feliz scored on a sacrifice fly by Jimmy Rollins. The Mets answered again as Pagan was able to put one over the wall for his second home run, while Castillo scored on a ground out by Cory Sullivan.

 The Mets would keep the game at 8-4, as Pat Misch pitched four innings of stellar relief, allowing just one hit. In the seventh inning, the Mets drew closer as Castillo scored his third run of the game on a single by Daniel Murphy. However, the Phillies got the run back when Shane Victorino scored on a wild pitch by Sean Green. The Mets answered right away as Cory Sullivan scored on Anderson Hernandez double.

 After Elmer Dessens pitched a perfect ninth, the Mets had their last licks down 8-5, as Brad Lidge the closer for Philadelphia was on the mound. The Mets got a break as Angel Pagan led off and reach third on an error by Ryan Howard at first. Pagan scored when Luis Castillo reached base on an error by Phillies' second baseman Eric Bruntlett, who was playing in place of Chase Utley was given a day’s rest. Daniel Murphy followed with a single, and the Mets were in business. With a 2-2 count to Jeff Francoeur, Mets manager Jerry Manuel called for a hit and run. Francoeur ripped the ball to second, but it was caught by Brunlett who tagged the bad and tagged Murphy to end the game with an 8-6 Phillies win, with an unassisted triple play.

 Eric Bruntlett's unassisted triple play as the 15th turned in MLB history. It was the second to end a game, Johnny Neun of the Detroit Tigers also ended a game against the Cleveland Indians in 1927 with an unassisted triple play. There has not ben an unassisted triple play in the majors since Brunlett’s play against the Mets.