SAN DIEGO -- Instead of celebrating what would have been their first win at Petco Park in nearly four calendar years, the Braves found themselves focusing on a replay review that would have been inconsequential had Arodys Vizcaino done what he has done nearly every other time he has taken
SAN DIEGO -- Instead of celebrating what would have been their first win at Petco Park in nearly four calendar years, the Braves found themselves focusing on a replay review that would have been inconsequential had Arodys Vizcaino done what he has done nearly every other time he has taken the mound dating back to last season.
Vizcaino's inability to hold a one-run ninth inning lead during Tuesday night's 4-3 loss to the Padres led the Braves to wonder what might have been had the umpires shared their opinion of what transpired when Freddie Freeman's long eighth-inning drive bounced off the top of the left-center field wall and came back into play.
"If it did (hit the fan's glove), then that is unacceptable," Braves manager Brian Snitker said after his team suffered its sixth straight loss and 12th straight at Petco Park, dating back to Aug. 29, 2012.
It appeared the San Diego nightmare might end when Nick Markakis drove in two key runs and made a great catch to rob Melvin Upton Jr. of an extra-base hit with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. The bullpen worked 3 2/3 scoreless innings following Aaron Blair's fifth-inning exit. But once Vizcaino surrendered a Derek Norris homer and Wil Myers' walk-off single all of the attention was turned toward Freeman's near home run.
As Freeman sprinted toward third base with his two-out triple, it was obvious the umpires would need to conduct a boundary review. The ball eluded a leaping Jon Jay's glove and bounced off the padding where a fan was reservedly holding his glove flat. The only question was whether contact with the fan's glove caused the ball to come back onto the field.
Unlike with most reviews involving plays that do not provide conclusive evidence, this review lasted just 55 seconds and resulted in the play confirmed as a triple.
"From our replay, it looks like it's a home run," Freeman said. "I was surprised they took that quick to look at that and not give it any more shot. But clearly on our replay, it looks like the glove went down. But nothing surprises me with that replay (process) this year."
After the game, Snitker and many of the Braves players huddled around a video screen in the middle of the clubhouse looking at enlarged images of the ball bouncing off the wall. The consensus opinion was the ball hit the fan's glove and the evidence was at least disputable enough to warrant a longer review.
Of course, this would not have been as big of an issue had Vizcaino not surrendered two runs for just the second time in a span of 33 appearances dating back to Sept. 15.
"You take it for what it is," Freeman said. "We had a chance to win the ballgame."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.