CLEVELAND (AP) — David Dellucci was minding his own business, taking a lead off third base. Next thing he knew, he was part of baseball history. Triple steal!
Dellucci was on the front end of the rare play Tuesday night, taking advantage of a rundown on the other side of the diamond in the Cleveland Indians' 8-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. The last triple steal in the majors came on Oct. 1, 1987, when Atlanta did it against Houston, the Elias Sports Bureau said.
On Wednesday, Dellucci still wasn't sure why he was credited with a steal of home.
"If they want to give it to me, I'll take it," he said.
The Indians held a five-run lead in the sixth when they loaded the bases — Dellucci on third, Grady Sizemore on second and Jamey Carroll on first.
With Ben Francisco batting, White Sox pitcher Ehren Wasserman faked a throw to third and threw to first, trapping Carroll off the bag.
When Carroll briefly got caught in pickle, Dellucci broke home. First baseman Paul Konerko's throw to catcher Toby Hall was in the dirt, allowing Dellucci to score.
Official scorer Chuck Murr credited all three runners with stolen bases.
"Looking at the play, I couldn't tell, with a good throw from Konerko, if the catcher would have been able to tag Dellucci in time," Murr said.
Murr thought Konerko had a difficult play and didn't think it would have been fair to charge him with an error.
"He had to catch the ball, get the man on first in a rundown and throw against his body to the plate," Murr said. "I thought that constituted more than ordinary effort."
Dellucci relied on his instincts once the play unfolded.
"You go over that play in spring training, but you do it for the defense, not the offense," he said. "It's a timing play. Everyone has to go at the right moment. I was more lucky than anything else."
Asked if he would have been safe had Konerko made a good throw, Dellucci smiled and said, "It would have been close."
"I would have had to make a decision. Sliding was not one of my options. I would have had to lower my shoulder and try to knock the ball loose," he said.
The 34-year-old Dellucci has 41 stolen bases in his nine-year major league career, including three this season.
"The next time I get on third, I might take off again," he said.