Justin Verlander struck out Jonathan Schoop to end the inning ... but neither team realized it
If a third out is recorded, but no one -- on either team -- realizes it, was it really the third out?
No, this isn't a philosophical exercise. This actually happened in the bottom of the third inning during the Tigers' 5-2 victory over the Orioles on Friday night. After Justin Verlander struck out Jonathan Schoop on a 1-2 pitch, James McCann fired the ball around the horn.
Verlander turned and began the pitcher's customary trip around the mound while waiting for the next batter.
Schoop trotted back to the dugout as Chris Davis made his way to the batter's box.
And the umpires, well, either they weren't sure, or they were simply enjoying the show and giggling to themselves.
Eventually, it was all figured out, with even Manny Machado showing the international sign for "three outs," like this was a backyard game and there was a disagreement to be had.
Verlander admitted what was going through his head.
"You know, I talked to [McCann] after that," the starter told MLB.com's Mandy Bell after the game. "And he said, 'You were the only one kind of walking off the field.' I took like two steps. Usually after a strikeout I quickly turn left and go around the mound if there's not three outs. So I was walking toward the dugout and [McCann] throws the ball around and I see Nick [Castellanos] throw the ball around and I'm like, 'All right.' So I kind of stopped and walked back around and I hear Brad [Ausmus] and them yelling, 'I think that's three,' and I'm like, 'Me too!'"
It all worked out for the starter, though. He picked up the 'W' after striking out 10 in seven innings. And who knows -- maybe he would have had 11 strikeouts had he stuck around for out No. 4. Though Verlander's family just seemed relieved that everything got figured out.