Looper was trailing, 1-0, when Randy Winn and Ryan Garko hit consecutive singles to start the inning. Giants center fielder Aaron Rowand followed with a sharp bouncer to third baseman McGehee, who happened to be positioned near the foul line.
McGehee stepped on third and threw to second baseman Lopez, who fired to Fielder at first. Just like that, Looper was out of his predicament.
"I knew we were going to have a chance," McGehee said. "It just so happened we were playing on the line and the ball was right there, right on the base. I was just hoping I didn't bounce it to Felipe. I knew we were going to have to hurry."
The throw was low, but Lopez handled it and relayed to Fielder.
"When I threw it," Lopez said, "I was like, 'Oh my God, it's a triple play!'"
Fielder squeezed the baseball and flashed one of his big smiles.
"I didn't really realize it until the play was over," Fielder said. "That's my first one ever."
It was the fifth triple play in the Brewers' 40-year history and the first since April 16, 1999, when third baseman Jeff Cirillo initiated a similar 5-4-3 play in a home opener at County Stadium against the Cubs. Cirillo to Fernando Vina to Sean Berry in the seventh retired Benito Santiago at first.
|The Brewers have turned five triple plays in their history.|
|9/6/09||Brewers 2, Giants 1||Casey McGehee (3B) to Felipe Lopez (2B) to Prince Fielder (1B)|
|4/16/99||Cubs 9, Brewers 4||Jeff Cirillo (3B) to Fernando Vina (2B) to Sean Berry (1B)|
|7/28/97||Brewers 9, Blue Jays 4||Jeff Cirillo (3B) to Mark Loretta (2B) to Dave Nilsson (1B)|
|5/16/79||Angels 4, Brewers 3||Sal Bando (3B) to Paul Molitor (2B) to Cecil Cooper (1B)|
|4/28/71||Red Sox 10, Brewers 3||Rick Auerbach (SS) to Ted Kubiak (2B) to Mike Hegan (1B) to Ellie Rodriguez (C)|
For San Francisco, it marked the first time a Giants hitter batted into a triple play since J.T. Snow did so on Aug. 5, 1998, against the Mets. It also was the fifth triple play in the Majors this season and the first since Philadelphia's Eric Bruntlett recorded an unassisted triple play to end a win over the Mets on Aug. 23.
Looper pumped his fist and the crowd jumped to its feet. The crowd was up again later in the inning, when Lopez scored the tying run on McGehee's RBI single.
"It's one of those things you can mark down for me as one of the things that's never happened while I've been in the game," Looper said. "To be honest with you, the first two guys got on and I was a little frustrated because I thought they were good pitches. ... Then to make a good pitch and get a triple play, that's not something you've ever expect. It was really exciting."
Rowand was understandably less enthusiastic.
"It's the nature of the beast," he said. "I just missed hitting two home runs today, a flyout to third, a ground ball, a triple play to top it off. What are you going to do? That's the way it goes sometimes."
What was Rowand thinking after he hit the ball?
"I'm thinking, 'Run,'" he said. "I knew what was going on. [McGehee] was playing right there, and he got a nice candy hop right there on the bag."
Both McGehee and Lopez could remember turning triple plays before, but only the lucky variety in which runners are off on the pitch and the hitter smacks a line drive right to an infielder.
"This was the first 'true' triple play for me," McGehee said. "There were a lot of great plays today."