Hustle is an invaluable asset in baseball, especially when Weird Baseball strikes. In the case of Baltimore Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins, his speed and a bit of shallow outfield chaos from the Boston Red Sox turned a pop fly into a triple on Monday night.
With the score tied at one in the bottom of the eighth, Mullins lofted a fly ball behind third base that the Boston infield made a mess of. It was a tough play for anyone, even Gold Glove shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who ranged a long way to get a glove on the ball. He may have been throw a bit by third baseman Raphael Devers coming close, though, and instead of caching it he knocked the ball around a bit as it fell to the ground.
Pop-up triple because Cedric Mullins. pic.twitter.com/JW7SR5NTPT
— Baltimore Orioles 😷 (@Orioles) May 11, 2021
Mullins was running hard throughout the play, though, and turned on the jets when it hit the field to round second and take off for third. The Sox catcher actually had to cover third on the play, but Boegarts couldn’t get the throw there in time to beat Mullins to third.
he's a runner he's a track star pic.twitter.com/WF3pmxmkZ9
— Orioles on MASN (@masnOrioles) May 11, 2021
Because of how out-of-position the play put Bogaerts, it was ruled a hit rather than an error. And rightfully so, as it was Mullins who made the magic happen here and put the O’s in a position to be the first home team to win a game in the season series between the two teams. But the play did look like a huge mess, and according to the TV broadcasts it went down as the shortest triple in the StatCast era.
Jerry Remy surmised that Cedric Mullins might've just hit the shortest triple in baseball history. It went 168 feet in the air. In Statcast times (2015-present), it was the shortest *flyball* triple. Nick Castellanos had a 185-footer in 2015.
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) May 11, 2021
Mullins was brought home shortly after and the Orioles added some insurance runs to get the win, 4-1. And a nice highlight reel play for the very speedy outfielder on a night where it very much mattered.