When the smoke cleared, the Dodgers had a run

If you’re watching this on the TV, the broadcasters are probably explaining how the Dodgers ended up getting a run out of what appeared to be an inning-ending double play in the top of the second. But since I can’t hear them, I’ll clarify it here, too.
What happened was this: with runners on second and third and one out, Randy Wolf hit a line smash up the middle that D-Backs pitcher Dan Haren snagged with his glove (it would have been a two-run single to center otherwise). Both Andre Ethier (third) and Juan Pierre (second) were WAY off their respective bags and had no chance of getting back.
But as Haren turned and fired to second for what appeared to be an easy out, Ethier just kept on running without turning back. Second baseman Felipe Lopez took the throw from Haren and seemed to overrun the bag, then simply ran to the spot where Pierre was standing, frozen, about 10 feet to the third-base side of second base and actually TAGGED Pierre. Well, in the time it took Lopez to get there, Ethier was able to get all the way down the 3B line and cross home plate BEFORE Lopez tagged Pierre.
But that is NOT the reason the run counted.
The reason the run counted was that the D-Backs then left the field WITHOUT ANYONE EVER TOUCHING THIRD BASE to double off Ethier. If Lopez had bothered to then touch third base on his way off the field, with the ball in his glove, Ethier would have been the fourth out of the inning — and that isn’t as superfluous as it sounds, because that would have meant the run would NOT have counted.
As the Dodgers jogged back onto the field for the bottom of the second, Joe Torre slowly walked out and conferred with plate umpire Larry Vanover and 3B umpire Charlie Reliford, pleading his case that the run should count. Vanover and Reliford ultimately agreed, and the Dodgers had a run.
The moral of this story is that Haren should have thrown to third to double off Ethier in the first place instead of throwing to second to double off Pierre. That’s a lesson for the Little Leaguers: if you’re trying to double off runners who failed to tag up, and there are more than one of them, always double off the LEAD RUNNER first.

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  • Marcel

    Meanwhile, Chris Withrow had an amazing first start at Inland Empire:

    5 IP, 0 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks

  • cheba63

    I wouldn’t blame Haren for throwing to 2nd. It’s not his fault the 2nd baseman decided to play it safe and tag Pierre in case it was a force play (I am assuming that’s why he did that, and if so, a very amateurish play), instead of stepping on 2nd.

  • cheba63

    wasn’t a force play*

  • Buddy

    So to super clarify, it was an issue of timing? Since Ethier crossed the plate before Lopez recorded the out that’s why the run counted?

    On the good news front, Kemp has replaced Pierre!

  • cheba63

    And because they didn’t step on 3rd base to make the 4th out and remove the run before they left the field.

  • GScott

    Why would they have to make a fourth out, shouldn’t the end of the inning come if he had stepped on second for the third out? I know he ran to Pierre, but regardless, if he steps on 2nd the inning is over correct?

  • Buddy

    Thanks cheba63!

  • cheba63

    GScott, they would have to make the 4th out because Ethier scored before Pierre was tagged, so that run is good, unless they tag third base because Ethier didn’t go back to the base to tag. The inning ended when Pierre was tagged, the 4th out would only be made to remove the run. The inning would have been over without a run if he steps on 2nd or tags Pierre before Ethier crossed the plate.

  • GScott

    Ok that’s what I was asking. If he had touched the base instead of running to Pierre the inning would have ended regardless of if Ethier had scored in time or not. Thanks for the clarification.

  • cheba63

    The inning ended by him being tagged, and would have ended if he stepped on the base, a third out is a third out. If you mean would the run have counted if Ethier touched home first and then the 2nd basemen stepped on second instead of tagging, it still would have counted.