Mariners rookie hits into phantom double play in Seattle
SEATTLE -- Mariners catcher Jesus Sucre made his debut in Friday night's 9-5 loss to the Texas Rangers, and first Major League at-bat was one to remember, although for a very unusual reason.
With the Rangers leading, 2-1, Raul Ibanez and Justin Smoak led off the second inning with singles, putting runners on first and second with no outs for Sucre. Sucre hit a grounder to Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland, who fielded it and threw to shortstop Elvis Andrus. Andrus stepped on second base for the first out and threw back in the direction of first base to try to get Sucre for a double play.
Things got weird when the catch was made and first-base umpire Jeff Nelson called Sucre out.
Seattle manager Eric Wedge came out to argue that Moreland had pulled his foot while stretching to catch the ball. He hadn't, but that wasn't the problem. The problem was Moreland wasn't the player who caught the ball, that was pitcher Justin Grimm, who was well off the bag but his glove and Moreland's glove nearly touched when the pitcher cut the throw off, making it appear to most that Moreland made the catch.
Replays showed clearly what really transpired, but only Grimm and Moreland appeared to be in the know in real time.
Nelson called Sucre out, completing a bizarre double play that was scored 3-6-3 (first base-shortstop-first base) and later changed to 3-6-1.
The result of the play left Ibanez and third base, and Brendan Ryan doubled him home to minimize the impact of the call, tying the game, 2-2.
"Everybody's just focused on the bag," Wedge said. "I thought he came off the bag. That's what I was out there arguing. And then I come to find out later, with the replay, that he didn't even catch the ball. ... It would have been a much bigger argument if I had known that at the time, no doubt about it."
Added Grimm: "That happened so fast. I didn't realize the umpire called him out. When Elvis threw the ball, I didn't think Mitch would get it, so I snagged it trying to save a run and keep the double play in order. They have a tough job. I don't think people realize how quick things can happen out there. We caught a break."