Padres players put bizarre triple play behind them

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 16, 2012
The San Diego Padres are no longer raising any objections over an umpire's raised arms, even if the reaction contributed to a triple play. Infielder Chase Headley said the Padres have turned the page on the bizarre chain of events Sunday that ran the Padres out of a tie game in the top of the ninth against Los Angeles. The Dodgers won 5-4 in the bottom half of the ninth. With Headley on first and Yonder Alonso on second, Jesus Guzman squared to bunt. But the ball sailed high and tight, causing Guzman to back away from the pitch and have it inadvertently strike his bat. Plate umpire Dale Scott raised his hands in a reactionary manner as he backed away from the play, which momentarily confused Alonso and Headley, who thought Scott was indicating a foul ball. Scott then signaled fair ball, leading to the easy triple play. On Monday, Major League Baseball conceded in a statement the call by Scott was correct, but said the veteran umpire's mechanics were not. ''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.'' That was a good enough explanation for Headley. ''The call ended up being the right call,'' Headley said as he sat in the clubhouse before Monday night's game against the Colorado Rockies. ''We did get the foul ball call - we thought we saw the foul ball sign. But that was such a wacky play.'' Sure was. Guzman was startled by what happened and didn't even take off for first base as the ball trickled just in front of home plate. Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis alertly picked it up and threw to third baseman Juan Uribe, who relayed it to shortstop Dee Gordon at second base. In turn, Gordon flipped the ball to James Loney to complete LA's first triple play since June 13, 1998. San Diego manager Bud Black came out of the dugout to argue the call and was eventually ejected by Scott. Given such a confusing play, Headley is cutting Scott some slack. ''I mean, is it written in a manual somewhere how you're supposed to handle when a guy throws a ball that would've hit the guy right in the neck?'' Headley said. ''(Scott) can't see anything. It was such a crazy thing. You could see how it happened.'' Now, it's in the rearview mirror for Headley and the Padres. ''There's no animosity,'' he said. ''Listen, if an umpire tells me, `Hey, I just messed it up' or `I didn't mean to do that,' that's all we can ask for. I make errors, I swing at balls I shouldn't. I get it. What happened, it happened. We're past that and there are no hard feelings. We wish it didn't happen, but no hard feelings.'' Asked if he agreed with MLB's assessment that Scott shouldn't have thrown up his hands in a manner to indicate a foul ball, Black simply said: ''That it was a mistake that he threw his hands up and the ball was fair? Yeah.''
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