Reds caught for odd double play on infield fly
CINCINNATI -- Reds outfielder Jason Bourgeois regretted his baserunning gaffe that cost his team. A bases-loaded opportunity against the Royals on Wednesday night and a chance to take a lead was foiled when Bourgeois ran the team right out of a rally because of a mistake that proved huge in a 4-3 loss.
Following Brandon Phillips' one-out single against Jeremy Guthrie in the fifth while trailing by a run, Cincinnati had one out and the bases loaded for Jay Bruce. Kansas City lifted Guthrie and called on Luke Hochevar from the bullpen.
Bruce popped up a 3-2 pitch that had Hochevar and first baseman Eric Hosmer camped underneath before it hit the ground. The infield fly rule was invoked for the out on Bruce.The runner on third base, Bourgeois, broke from third base and tried to score. Hochevar threw to catcher Drew Butera, who easily tagged Bourgeois five feet from the plate for the inning-ending double play.
"That's a mental mistake that I made. It can't happen," Bourgeois said on Thursday. "It's just one of those things where I saw it down and I took off. By the time I got halfway, I realized, 'What am I doing?' It won't happen again.
"I knew the rule. It was definitely a brain fart on my end, and costly. We still had a couple of guys in scoring position. I felt terrible about it, but, hey, I've got wipe it off and come back today."
According to Major League Baseball rules, runners may advance at their own risk when the infield fly rule is called.
"I think it was just a reaction," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It wasn't a late call by the umpires in the sense that they called it. They had to know that a position player has a play -- on what's called a relatively routine play on the ball. And both the pitcher and the first baseman were converging on the ball. Once the pitcher got underneath it and the first baseman, the home-plate umpire [Chris Conroy] signaled 'infield fly.' At that point in time, the ball was just getting ready to hit [the ground], and it did. I think he felt in that situation obliged to run.
"There's no fault on the umpires. They have to wait until there is a position player -- particularly an infielder -- underneath that ball before they can identify it as an infield fly rule. I think his reaction was just the fact that it landed. I think it was just an instinctive deal."
The Reds notched only two more hits the rest of the night.
"I've never seen that before," Royals second baseman Ben Zobrist said. "It was interesting and heads up by Butera for knowing for sure because I was still kind of confused as to whether they would send him back to third or not. I didn't really know the rule exactly, but it was heads up and it worked out for us obviously. It's an unfortunate kind of play, that's not the way you want to do it, but it worked out."
Royals manager Ned Yost noted there was no intent by his players to let the ball drop.
"[Hochevar] was going to take it until he heard Hoz," Yost said. "Then he heard Hoz's footsteps and backed off, and Hoz thought he was going to take it and boom they dropped it, and it worked out good for us."
Filling in for Billy Hamilton after he went on the disabled list with a shoulder injury before the game, Bourgeois was also picked off of first base after his leadoff single in the first inning.
"It was a tough day," Price said.