Utility man Eric Bruntlett had been known for being traded with closer Brad Lidge from the Houston Astros to the Philadelphia Phillies entering the 2008 season. The 2008 Phillies won their second World Series title (the first in 1980). In 2008, Lidge converted all 48 save opportunities (41 in the regular season) and Bruntlett tallied a home run and walk-off run during the Fall Classic against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Bruntlett mostly came off the bench during his seven-year big-league career. In 512 games (2003-2009) with the Astros and Phillies, Bruntlett batted .231 (182-for-789) with 115 runs, 39 doubles, three triples, 11 sayonaras, 72 runs batted in, 76 walks, 157 strikeouts, and 31 stolen bases in 39 attempts. While playing all positions except catcher and pitcher, Bruntlett recorded 378 putouts, 457 assists, 90 double plays, and 32 errors (.963 fielding percentage) in 1,901 innings.
However, if there was one moment in particular which Bruntlett would be remembered the most, you can’t forget when he turned an unassisted triple play off the bat of Jeff Francoeur at Citi Field in Flushing, New York. That triple play took place in the ninth inning of a 9-7 Philadelphia victory on Aug. 23, 2009. Believe or not, that was the first unassisted triple play to end a game in the history of the National League and only the second game-ending unassisted triple in Major League Baseball history.
The Mets were down by three (9-6) with no one out in the ninth and Angel Pagan on third base. Luis Castillo grounded a baseball to second base, except Bruntlett bobbled it and Castillo beat the throw as Pagan scored. Next, Daniel Murphy grounded to second and Bruntlett once again couldn’t handle it. Then, Francoeur laced the line drive into Bruntlett’s glove, Bruntlett touched second for another out and tagged Murphy caught in a hit-and-run to end the game.
Citi Field was in its first year of existence. There wasn’t the Party City Deck in left field and outfield dimensions were farther than most ballparks. Yet, the Phillies seized a 6-0 advantage in the top of the first of that contest thanks to three-run homers by outfielder Jayson Werth and catcher Carlos Ruiz.
Pedro Martinez, a 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, allowed four runs and seven hits in his third start with the Phillies (he retired after the Phillies lost to the New York Yankees in the 2009 World Series). Pagan led-off the bottom of the first with an inside-the-park homer. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was ejected from the game after umpires reversed a call.