Controversial 4th inning play costs Nats

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Beanballs,Sports,Brian McNally

A bizarre play in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s second game between the Dodgers and the Nationals didn’t look like that big a deal at the time. Already up 5-0, Hanley Ramirez hit a hard smash to Ryan Zimmerman at third base. With two outs and runners at second and third, Zimmerman knew  he had a play on Adrian Gonzalez trying to make it into third.

It was all he could do to windmill his arm and knock the ball down with his glove. Then he dove for the ball, did a backwards somersault and tagged Gonzalez as he tried to leap over him. Since Matt Kemp, the runner at third base, was looking back towards the play and not running all that hard he didn’t cross home in time for the run to count.

But not so fast…no umpire saw that. They were all watching the play at third. So after a meeting convened by Alan Porter, the home-plate umpire, the run was counted. No big deal in a 6-0 game – until the Nats rallied for six runs in the eighth inning and eventually lost 7-6 on a homer by Kemp. That’s a problem. Umpires afterwards had no comment for a pool reporter.

“They obviously blew the call. It wasn’t reviewable. They all discussed it, and evidently nobody was paying attention,” Washington manager Davey Johnson said. “But Kemp wasn’t running. He just wasn’t running. The tag play was before. Obviously they missed it, but you’d think when the three of them got together somebody would’ve been paying attention that Kemp was not at home. But they’re not changing it.

You know the call was wrong when even the opponent concedes.

“I probably should’ve just been running forward and not looking back. That was close. I don’t know if I made it or not,” Kemp told reporters in the Los Angeles clubhouse afterwards. When told he didn’t come close to making it: “Yeah, I don’t think I did. We got lucky right there.”

Ouch.

“No I didn’t [know where Kemp is],” Zimmerman said. “But I guess somehow everyone else on the field did, besides the person who had to make the play, but, you know, at the time I guess you don’t think that’s a big play. But you can’t just give away runs in the big leagues.”

Added Johnson: “They’re all huge runs. I’m not out there for my health. I don’t come out unless I feel like I’ve got a legitimate beef.”

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Brian McNally

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner