Orioles score late, but while the game is still going on
by Bob Timmermann
At Jacobs Field tonight, the Orioles had Nick Markakis at third and Miguel Tejada at first with Ramon Hernandez at the plate. (Left out originally the relevant fact that it was the top of the third with Baltimore leading 2-1.)
Hernandez hits a line drive to left which Cleveland center fielder Grady Sizemore ran in for and made the catch. Markakis tagged up and headed home, but Tejada misread the play and was doubled off of first. Home plate umpire Marvin Hudson ruled that Tejada was out before Markakis scored, nullifying the run.
By the time the sixth inning rolled around, the umpires had changed their mind and put the run back on the board for Baltimore giving them a 3-2 lead in a game which they ulimately won 7-4.
Cleveland manager Eric Wedge protested the game.
(All of this is taken from Jeff Zrebiec's story in the Baltimore Sun.)
You can pull up video of the play at MLB.com. Although the announcers at the time, say that no run counted, it looked to me that Markakis scored before Cleveland first baseman Ryan Garko stepped on first.
"Well, they said the run should have been on the scoreboard all along," said Wedge, explaining his perspective. "But the fact of the matter is the plate umpire did wave the run off. And it happened. When that happened and nothing was done prior to the next pitch being thrown, in my opinion, all bets are off."
"There's no time frame because it was an umpire's error -- not a team error or a manager's error," Montague said to a pool reporter, explaining how the run could be added later in the game. "It was my screw-up. We can't go off an umpire's error. What's right is right [and] we have to score the run."
Baseball's official rulebook clarified the play under Rule 2.0, the definition of terms. There, under the listing for force play, lies the following example.
"One out. Runner on first and third. Batter flies out. Two out. Runner on third tags up and scores. Runner on first tries to retouch before throw from fielder reaches first baseman, but does not get back in time and is out. Three outs. If, in umpire's judgment, the runner from third touched home before the ball was held at first base, the run counts."
I think Wedge will lose his protest. His point about not being able to correct a mistake after a pitch is thrown to the next batter applies to appeal plays. The umpires made a mistake and they fixed it.
Slightly related to this was an incident from a Dodgers-Expos game in Montreal back on August 22, 1989. In the second inning, Tim Wallach walked and moved to second on a balk by Fernando Valenzuela. With Mike Fitzgerald up, Valenzuela was called for a balk but still got the pitch off and Fitzgerald flied out. Wallach, knowing that a balk had been called, strolled off the bag at third, knowing he could go back. But Dodgers catcher Mike Scioscia threw the ball down to third baseman Jeff Hamilton, who tagged Wallach, and, surprisingly, Wallach was called out. The umpires ruled at the time that the Expos had essentially declined the balk by Wallach's actions (you can do this, but a team explicitly has to say so.) Wallach stopped running because he knew he was supposed to go to third. The Expos ultimately won the game 4-2, so the Expos protest of the play didn't go through
After the game, crew chief Frank Pulli admitted on the Dodgers postgame show that his crew had screwed up and that Wallach should have been safe at third and if the Expos had protested, it would have been upheld.
OK, that's not related at all, but I was surprised at how fast I found the game on Retrosheet.