Freeman's heads-up play yields 'insurance out'
NEW YORK -- Aaron Harang did not have a chance to record the final out after he produced a gem in Friday night's win over the Mets. But his exit after seven innings with a no-hit bid in place might not have garnered so much attention had Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman not helped record what ended up being an "insurance fourth out" in the second inning.
Braves second baseman Dan Uggla ranged to his left to stop Travis d'Arnaud's two-out grounder and then made a quick throw that arrived at first base around the same time as the Mets catcher. Unsure whether the throw was in time for the third out, Freeman immediately fired the ball to third baseman Chris Johnson, who tagged an unsuspecting Lucas Duda, who slowed his approach toward third base once he realized d'Arnaud had been called out.
"I've never really gone for a fourth out before," Freeman said. "But I knew [the call at first base] was going to be close. That's why I wanted to throw the ball. I didn't want to leave it in the umpire's hands in that situation."
Mets manager Terry Collins rushed on the field and was seemingly prepared to request the umpires to review the play via Major League Baseball's instant-replay system. But because Duda had already been tagged for what stood as an insurance out, Collins had no reason to request a challenge that might have resulted in d'Arnaud being rewarded a single.
"We talked about it in Spring Training, you play the play out," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "If you're a baserunner, run until the play is over because you can get assigned an extra base if they decide to advance the runners on a replay turnover. Freeman was heads up to get the runner. He felt it at first base that it was going to be bang-bang. So he comes off the bag firing and we get the out at third base. … It wouldn't have mattered if they had overturned it."