Padres move on past confusion of triple play
Umpire acknowledges improper mechanics while making call
DENVER -- The Padres got a measure of satisfaction on Monday when umpire Dale Scott admitted the mechanics of his gestures as he backed away from a play at the plate caused the confusion on the basepaths that led to Sunday's rally-killing triple play executed by the Dodgers in the top of the ninth inning of a tied game.
With Chase Headley on first and Yonder Alonso on second, Jesus Guzman attempted a bunt. With the pitch headed right for him, he tried to pull his bat back and avoid the pitch, but the ball hit his bat against his chest, dribbling in front of the plate. Scott, officiating behind the dish, stepped back instinctively and raised his hands then waved them in what appeared to be a "foul ball" signal. The runners held their bases, allowing catcher A.J. Ellis to start a 2-5-6-3 triple play in the 5-4 loss.
"It was pretty crazy," Alonso said. "I couldn't believe it was happening at first. First time I've ever been part of a triple play. It was kind of unreal. It was a tough loss. We just got to keep moving forward."
Manager Bud Black was ejected from the game for arguing with Scott, and though the Padres did not file a protest, Major League Baseball reviewed the play and offered an assessment to The Associated Press.
"At no time did the umpire verbally kill the play on the field," said Peter Woodfork, senior vice president of baseball operations who oversees umpiring. "After reviewing the entire situation following the game, the umpire realizes his hands were in an exaggerated upward appearance similar to a call that would indicate a dead ball.
"While we all agree that it was a fair ball that did not hit the batter, the umpire recognizes that the proper mechanic was not executed as he tried to avoid the catcher."
Black agreed that the gestures were in error, answering, "Yeah. That it was a mistake? That he threw his hands up and the ball was fair? Yeah," when asked if he agreed with MLB's finding.
"You turn the page," Headley said. "We understand that umpires aren't perfect. The call ended up being the right call. We thought we saw the foul ball sign. That was such a whacky play. Is it written in a manual somewhere how you're supposed to handle when a guy throws a ball that would have hit him in the neck and he can't see anything? It's such a crazy thing. You can see how it happened."
The Dodgers won the game on a walk-off single in the bottom of the inning, rubbing salt in the Padres' wounds as their losing streak extended to four games.
"It was unfortunate that it happened to us and it happened in such a big situation," Headley said. "When things aren't going well for us as it is, everything gets amplified. So it was frustrating, but you understand that that kind of thing can happen. There's no animosity."Listen, if an umpire would tell me that, 'Hey, I just messed it up,' or, 'I didn't meant to do that, I didn't realize I did that,' that's all we can ask for, because I make errors, I swing at balls I shouldn't. I get it. What happened, it happened. We're past that. We wish it didn't happen, but there's no hard feelings."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.