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Alex Avila's Two-Triple Thursday Put Him In Exclusive Catcher Company

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Tigers' 4-1 win over the Mariners on Thursday night was the two triples hit by Alex Avila. Avila owned that right-center field gap with his two deep drives off Doug Fister. Comerica Park hasn't seen that kind of excitement around the bases since Curtis Granderson was launching triples from 2007-08.

Jason Beck echoed my thoughts (shared by plenty of others, I'm sure) on Avila's second triple, tweeting that we've seen very few — if any — balls hit the top of the wall where the right-center scoreboard meets the center field wall at Comerica Park. (But let's be honest: those balls probably would've been home runs in many other major league ballparks.)

Avila tied the Blue Jays' J.P. Arencibia for the major league lead at that position with his two triples on Thursday. And by getting two in a game, he became the 18th catcher to do so in the last 40 years, according to Baseball-Reference.

Perhaps even more interesting is that Avila isn't the only Detroit Tigers catcher on that list. 12 years ago, Brad Ausmus hit two triples against the Yankees, both off of Hideki Irabu. And in 1980, Lance Parrish got two three-base hits versus the Yankees. His triples came against Tommy John.

Hitting one triple, let alone two, seems like a pretty rare feat for a catcher. But it's been pulled off in each of the past two seasons. Miguel Montero did it for the Arizona Diamondbacks last year. And in 2009, John Buck — then with the Royals — hit two triples. Before that, however, baseball had gone nine years without a catcher getting two three-baggers in a game.

 

 

But no catcher has been able to clear that two-triple hurdle. Hitting a third one in a game remains elusive for those who squat behind the plate.