Close, non-reviewable call ends it in Atlanta
ATLANTA -- The Nationals stayed on the field longer than most losing teams Thursday night, after the Braves' 2-1 walk-off victory in the series finale at Turner Field, but only because of a close call on Cameron Maybin's game-winning hit down the third-base line.
Maybin went down in the zone and connected with a low slider from Max Scherzer with a runner on second and one out in the bottom of the ninth, driving the ball into the dirt just in front of home plate and then watched it bounce over Yunel Escobar and third base and land in foul territory past the bag.
But after Nationals manager Matt Williams had a brief talk with home-plate umpire Dan Iassogna and third-base umpire C.B. Bucknor, both sides left the field. A replay wasn't an option.
"There's not an angle for us to review it," Williams said after the game. "It's a non-reviewable play. Once it bounces before the umpire, fair or foul is not reviewable, so I asked them and they said, 'We both got it fair.'"
The strange ending spoiled another excellent start from Scherzer, who became the 99th pitcher (since 1914) to suffer a loss after throwing a complete game with nine or more strikeouts and no walks.
Scherzer used a combination of all of his pitches, including a few more cutters than usual, to limit the Braves to five hits and strike out nine. He retired 10 straight Atlanta hitters from the fifth until the ninth, when Pedro Ciriaco led off with a pinch-hit infield single.
"[It] just [stinks] when you lose like that," Scherzer said. "An infield single with Ciriaco being able to beat it out, and then a ball that chops right over the third baseman.
"What are you going to be mad about? I thought I executed my pitches in those situations. They just got hits. Baseball's a funny game sometimes."
While "funny" might not have been the way other players in the Nats' clubhouse would have described the ending Thursday night, over in the Braves' clubhouse, Maybin was obviously pleased with the result.
"I thought it was fair at first," he said. "I thought it was a lucky bounce. It was just one of those situations where they're going to want to get it reviewed. But that's the name of the game. I'll definitely take it."
Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos disagreed with the call while still maintaining that the angle of the play must have made things difficult.
"First time I've seen that in all my career," Ramos said. "I've never seen that before, but that was a tough decision for the umpire, I think. But to me, that was a foul ball."