Missed stop sign, perfect relay make for wild end to Rangers-Dodgers game

June 13th, 2024

LOS ANGELES -- As Jason Heyward hit a ball to the right-center-field gap, the crowd at Dodger Stadium erupted. For a second, it looked as if the Dodgers were going to get two runs on a double that would roll to the wall.

Instead, Rangers center fielder was able to cut it off in deep right-center. A slight bobble from Taveras, however, helped create chaos on a game-ending play that resulted in rookie being thrown out at home plate -- despite being held by third-base coach Dino Ebel -- in the Dodgers’ 3-2 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

“Once Leo bobbled it, I [was] getting nervous there, but you know these guys do such a great job on defense,” said Rangers manager Bruce Bochy. “That’s just a beautiful play with the game on the line and it doesn’t get better than that. It was an exciting game.”

Pages, who had a baserunning mistake against the Yankees over the weekend, said he had made up his mind about trying to score once he saw Taveras bobble the ball in center. The Cuban rookie outfielder said he put his head down and never saw Ebel, who was halfway down the line, put up the stop sign.

Had Pages stopped at third, the Dodgers would have had the game-winning run in scoring position with the newly acquired Cavan Biggio due up.

“From the first moment, I knew I would get to third. But as soon as I saw the center fielder misplay it a little bit, I just thought about scoring that tying run,” Pages said in Spanish. “You learn from those things. Unfortunately, those things have to happen for you to get better.”

After the game, Pages had a conversation with first-base coach Clayton McCullough at his locker to further discuss the play.

“It’s one of those things; you have a young player who doesn’t have a lot of experience, and you run him out there and that’s how they learn,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “But it still took a perfect throw and an executed relay, and they made a great play.”

For the Rangers, it was a play they desperately needed to make in order to avoid extra innings and using more pitchers heading into Thursday’s series finale.

The key to the play came from second baseman , who took the relay throw from Taveras in right-center field and fired a perfect strike to catcher Jonah Heim at the plate. While all the attention was on Pages running through the stop sign, had Semien not made a strong throw to the plate, the Dodgers would have tied the game up at 3.

“I wanted Leody to get the ball to second if he caught it clean and it got bobbled and I said, ‘Here we go, we’re probably going four,’” Semien said. “It looked like Dino held him up at third, but he ran through it. I just assumed he was going to run anyway, so it’s definitely a good feeling from that far out there for me.”

Once Heim secured the throw, all he had to do was slide a bit to his left to get Pages at the plate. After the play, the Dodgers challenged the call on the field to see if Heim had blocked the plate. A quick review confirmed the Rangers’ perfectly executed relay as an out. And in turn, Texas now has a chance to take a series at Dodger Stadium on Thursday.

"Good catch by Jonah, good tag,” Semien said. “He's actually really good at that. We had a situation like that last year in Chicago where he got called for blocking the plate, but he really takes pride in making sure he does it right. He did it perfect today."