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Ump calls Bour safe, but he ... disagrees?

@Russ_Dorsey1
April 13, 2019

CHICAGO -- With Albert Pujols out of the starting lineup on Saturday, first baseman Justin Bour had an interesting beginning on the basepaths in the Angels' 6-5 win over the Cubs. After singling in the top of the first, Bour circled toward second, but ran back to the bag when

CHICAGO -- With Albert Pujols out of the starting lineup on Saturday, first baseman Justin Bour had an interesting beginning on the basepaths in the Angels' 6-5 win over the Cubs.

After singling in the top of the first, Bour circled toward second, but ran back to the bag when Cubs right fielder Ben Zobrist threw to first. But Zobrist's throw hit Bour’s leg, and the ball skipped toward the Angels' dugout.

Bour then got up and ran toward second, and catcher Willson Contreras retrieved the ball and fired a throw to Cubs shortstop Javier Báez, who applied the tag. Second-base umpire Marty Foster called Bour safe, but Bour inexplicably got up and walked toward the dugout as if he were out.

Baez animatedly called for a replay. Instead, all the shortstop had to do was tag Bour out as he walked away from the bag. Inning over.

“I hit the ball down the line, look to take two, Zobrist makes a good play, so I start to go back to first base,” Bour said. “He tries to make a throw behind me, ball gets away from [Anthony Rizzo]. I know how good and athletic [Contreras] is behind the plate so I’m still trying to get to second with two outs. I could tell right away Javy tagged me on the foot.”

“I just barely got him,” Baez said about the bizarre first inning. “After I felt it, you know, I went back to see, because I wasn't sure. But he knew it. We both knew it. So he just went right back to the dugout. And it was a crazy play. He knew I got him.”

In the bottom half of the inning, while Bour was manning first, a Rizzo liner deflected off his glove and hit Zobrist, who reached first base on a walk. The Angels first baseman immediately picked up the ball and belly-flopped his way back to the bag to tag the base and secure an out.

It’s amazing Bour was even able corral Rizzo’s liner. The smash left the bat with an exit velocity of 110.8 MPH and carried an xBA of .660.

Let’s get weird

The Angels took an early lead against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, but not without another bizarre turn. After three singles put the Angels ahead 1-0, former Cub and current Angels second baseman Tommy La Stella reached base on a catcher’s interference call.

Coincidence? Not on this wild afternoon.

As a member of the Cubs from 2015-18, La Stella reached base eight times via catcher’s interference, third-most in baseball over that span. The Halos would go on to score two more runs in the inning to lead 3-0 against his former team.

Contreras leads all catchers with three catcher’s interference calls this season alone.

Angels third baseman Zack Cozart broke out of his early-season funk during the game, collecting three hits and an RBI in the victory. Cozart entered Saturday’s game hitting 1-for-33 on the year.

Wild finish

Baseball wouldn’t be baseball if there weren’t a wild finish to match an equally wild beginning, and Saturday’s ending was the perfect bookend.

Angels closer Cody Allen, who made his first Major League plate appearance the half-inning prior, came in to close things out and protect a 6-2 lead. He got a quick flyout by Zobrist, but proceeded to walk Rizzo.

The Halos outfield was playing “no doubles” defense yet watched the next hitter, Baez, bloop a ball that would normally be a single fall in front of them for a double.

That put runners on second and third with one out.

Jason Heyward then sent a lazy fly ball down the left-field foul line and Angels outfielder Brian Goodwin raced in that direction, choosing to slide in an attempt to make the grab. Unluckily, the ball hit his glove and stayed fair, scoring both Rizzo and Baez in the process

“There’s the one play down the line that hits Goodwin’s glove. Unfortunately, our replay phone went down right then,” Ausmus said. “I don’t know if it would have been overturned, but it was definitely something we would have challenged. [Angels instant replay coordinator] Matt Martin tried four times. By the time he got to us, the 30 seconds were gone. So Cody did a nice job getting himself out of it.”

The good fortune the Angels seemed to have all day had suddenly shifted to the Cubs.

Allen stopped some of the bleeding by striking out Contreras for the second out, bringing up Kyle Schwarber.

With Schwarber facing a 3-2 count in front of a packed and standing Wrigley Field crowd, Allen got the outfielder to check his swing for the second time of the at-bat. Third-base umpire Gabe Morales gave Schwarber the benefit of the doubt on the first pitch of the at-bat, but called him out on the second checked swing, sending Schwarber into an uproar and securing the Angels’ eighth victory of the season.

“I thought he went, but, obviously from my angle, I don’t have as good of a view as the third-base umpire or home-plate umpire,” Allen said. “I think it does [help]. I think any of the bullpen guys that we have, whether they’re experienced or inexperienced, you can get out of it. You just have to slow the game down as much as possible and think about the situation and make one good pitch.”

“You don’t really look at them as one singular thing,” Bour said of the game’s wild occurrences. “You look at it as, we found a way to win a ballgame. That’s really the only way to put it.”

Russell Dorsey is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @Russ_Dorsey1.