Here’s the ruling on the bizarre ninth-inning play

If you’re confused about what happened in the bottom of the ninth tonight when Mariners left fielder Carlos Peguero didn’t come up with a diving catch on a ball hit by Ryan Ludwick, you’re not alone. The Padres got all crazy on the basepaths with Jason Bartlett returning to first, then getting pushed toward second by Ludwick, with Bartlett initially being called out at second.

But once the umpires determined the two runners had made contact, Ludwick was out — which took the force out at second away. And since the Mariners never tagged Bartlett, he was safe at second.

Here’s the official explanation from crew chief Tim McClelland:

“On the second to last play of the game, Ryan Ludwick was out for passing the runner (rule 7.08h), after which the play was not dead and the force out at second base was off, resulting in Jason Bartlett being safe at second base since he was not tagged out.”

Had this been a one-run game, that play would have been huge. Instead, reliever Chris Ray wound up getting out of a situation created initially on a booted ground ball by shortstop Brendan Ryan.

So the Mariners made it a bit more interesting than necessary, but bottom line, Erik Bedard was sensational for eight innings and Peguero made a great catch at the wall and a just-as-great throw to get a double play in the seventh.

Good stuff for the Mariners, who have gotten themselves back on track — and somehow back into the AL West race, just 2 1/2 back of front-running Texas — with a chance to make up more ground now with Michael Pineda and Felix Hernandez on the mound the next two days at Petco Park.

4 Comments

I’ve reviewed the rulebook and multiple online references and find nowhere that “touching”, even assisting (runner to runner) is illegal. Touching isn’t passing. I think they blew the call.
Batter on first, runner forced at second, as originally called.
Please discuss this at the pregame Saturday.

Here’s a historical reference:
The Angels hosted the Yankees on August 21, 2007. In the top of the third inning, the Yanks had the bases loaded and no outs when Bobby Abreu hit a shot off the center field wall. Melky Cabrera, the runner on second, remained close to the base. Jeter, rounding second base, ran into Cabrera but did not pass him. Thanks to a little unplanned assistance, it prevented Jeter from passing Cabrera.

Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia questioned umpire Dan Iassogna about the play and was apparently satisfied with the umpire’s explanation. Simply stated, it is within the rules for a runner to assist another runner by holding, stopping, pushing or even carrying him around the bases. Heck, a little collision is no cause for concern.

Runners should be aware that they can make contact and assist each other without risking embarrassment and ridicule. This might come into play when a runner is retreating to a base and is about to be passed by the back runner which is the most common way that a runner passes another runner. Either runner can hold up or even tackle the other to prevent one from passing the other. That is what the Phils’ Tim McCarver or Garry Maddox should have done on July 4, 1976, at Pittsburgh.

McCarver, batting with the bases loaded, hit a long drive that Maddox, the runner on first, apparently thought might be caught. Maddox went back to tag up and McCarver, running with his head down, passed Maddox and was called out by umpire Ed Vargo. The infraction cost McCarver a grand slam. If either McCarver or Maddox was alert, either one could have physically stopped the other to prevent the rule violation. Of course, that’s if they knew the rule.

Rather than “blew the call”, I’d say they were a little creative. Still checking references and so far all indicate bumping and assisting are ok between runners.

Now we’re down to a game and a half back and in sole possession of 3rd place. Not for long though! Once we take it to the Twinkies, I’m claiming first place!!!

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