If you’re looking for the strangest play of Opening Day, look no further than Coors Field.
In the third inning of an 8-5 Dodgers loss to the Rockies, we witnessed a run-scoring single that bounced out of an outfielder’s glove and over the fence. Wait, what?
Let’s try and explain the chaos.
Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger hit a long fly ball to left field on a Germán Márquez slider. Because the game is being played at hitter-friendly Coors Field, it appeared as if the ball had a good chance at clearing the fence. But Rockies outfielder Raimel Tapia had a good jump on the ball and made a leaping catch as he collided with the wall. Except he didn’t.
As Tapia banged against the wall, the ball popped out of his glove and over the left-field fence. That’s a homer for Bellinger then, right?
In a normal play, yes. But this wasn’t a normal play.
Justin Turner, who was on first base as contact was made, had rounded second and was headed for third. When he saw Tapia initially appear to make the play, he made a U-turn and put his head down as he rushed back to first. He never saw the ball go over the fence.
Turner ended up retreating all the way to the first-base bag, causing Bellinger to pass him on the basepaths. By rule, if the hitter passes the lead runner, then he is considered out. That applies even if the ball ultimately goes over the fence.
“I don’t think there’s a blame to be placed. I think that Cody was coming out of the box hard, which he should’ve, and he’s kind of looking at where the ball’s at, going hard,” explained Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “Justin was just past second base, I think, and when he saw the ball in Tapia’s glove, he retreated and, you know, put his head down to try and get back. But at that point in time, they just got crossed.”
After a lengthy discussion on the field with both managers, the umpires awarded Bellinger with an RBI single despite the ball clearing the fence. Turner was allowed to round the bases, giving the Dodgers perhaps the strangest 1-0 lead you’ll see this season.
"Yeah, that was something I've never seen before," said Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. "At first, I thought Tapia had robbed it. And I was excited about that. And then I looked around and saw Bellinger running past Turner. I knew someone had to be out because of that. Almost a really great play by Tapia, but kind of a bizarre play."
“It’s just one of those funky plays that I don’t think is going to happen again this year,” Roberts said.