Confusion on bases after walk-off in Arizona
PHOENIX -- Put this one under the column of something different happens almost every day in the game of baseball.
The D-backs defeated the Reds, 4-3, in the 10th inning on Sunday at Chase Field when Chris Owings skied a one-out, bases-loaded drive well over the head of center fielder Billy Hamilton. It went for a single, scoring Paul Goldschmidt with the winning run.
There was the usual celebration followed by a mass of confusion. The Reds noticed that David Peralta hadn't touched third base and Jake Lamb hadn't touched second base, so they retrieved the ball and touched second for a possible forceout. Meanwhile, Reds manager Bryan Price brought the entire matter to the attention of the umpires.
"We felt that the runner going to second base never made it to second base and the runner going to third base never made it to third," Price said. "We retrieved the ball and went out there to get the force at second base and tried to get the last out at third base on an appeal."
But the Official Baseball Rules book is pretty explicit on this issue with less than two outs. Rule 5.08(b) in the 2015 edition, 4.09(b) in previous versions, states that on any play in that situation with the bases full "which forces the runner on third to advance, the umpire shall not declare the game over until the runners forced from third has touched home and the batter-runner has touched first base."
Goldschmidt and Owings did just that. Game over. It didn't matter that Peralta and Lamb did not fully advance to third base and second base respectively. If there were two outs, all the runners had to advance to the next base. Thus, the force of Lamb at second would have negated the run.
"It was a little confusing there at the end," Owings said. "I just did what I could, I touched first there at the end. I feel like I've done a good job."
Crew chief Larry Vanover calmly cited Rule 4.09(b) and explained variations of it to Price, who said he was not contesting the runners going to home or first.
"They were asking, 'Can we throw it around and tag all the bases and get forceouts?' In that situation, you can't," Vanover explained afterward to a pool reporter. "First of all, they didn't play the ball. The infielders were leaving the infield. The runner from third touched the plate and the runner from the plate touched first. Those two things right there met the obligation of the rule. When that run scores and the batter has touched first, the game's over."
Price wasn't happy about how the game ended, but he seemed placated by the explanation.
"What was important is that our guys in the field and in the dugout were watching the completion of the play," he said. "In the end what happens is that the ball gets hit over Billy's head and it's game over. So players are coming off the field and staff and players are collecting their stuff to go inside. But our guys were on top of it and they finished the play. With two out we could still be playing right now, so it was a heads-up play."