Angels can’t catch a break

first_img His first batter, Scott Podsednik, bounced back to the mound, where Washburn made a nice stab, then threw over the head of Erstad at first. “The worst pitch I threw all night,” Washburn said. A sacrifice bunt and a Paul Konerko single later, Chicago led 1-0. It remained that way until Robb Quinlan hit a solo homer off left-hander Mark Buehrle in the fifth. It was still 1-1 entering the bottom of the ninth. The Angels received wonderful relief pitching to match the effort by Buehrle. The game was headed into extra innings, and then it wasn’t. Then the storm hit, and it never would calm down. Kelvim Escobar thought he had struck out A.J. Pierzynski swinging for the final out of the inning. So did just about everyone else. “I was very happy,” Escobar said. “I thought I punched him out.” Eddings clearly pointed to the swing and then punched a fist in the air, the typical umpire’s sign for an out. The pitch, however, was very low. Paul — who had entered the game in the eighth after starting catcher Jose Molina was pinch run for — gloved it and tossed the ball back to the mound. “I caught it,” Paul said. “I was on the way back to the dugout.” All four infielders started in. Pierzynski made a motion back to the White Sox dugout, but then started running to first. “All of a sudden I see A.J. running and I’m confused,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I don’t know what’s going on.” Pierzynski, a catcher, had not been tagged by Paul so he figured he had nothing to lose. “I was going back to the dugout and realized he didn’t tag me so I thought, ‘OK, I’ll run,”‘ Pierzynski said. Eddings did nothing. Pierzynski reached first and ultimately, confusingly, he was called safe. Eddings ruled Paul had trapped the ball, that it had bounced off the dirt. In such a case, the catcher has to tag the runner, or if the ball actually gets away from him, throw him out at first. Paul said Eddings never indicated he thought the ball hit the dirt. “Normally in that situation the umpire yells, ‘No catch, no catch, no catch,”‘ Paul said. “I didn’t hear anything. That’s why I was headed to the dugout.” In truth, just to be safe, Paul should have tagged Pierzynski. If he had, there would be no controversy. When Pierzynski was ruled safe, manager Mike Scioscia exploded from the dugout in disbelief. Eddings clearly rang Pierzynski up and Scioscia was dumbfounded he could now be ruled safe at first. “It was a swing, our catcher caught it, Doug Eddings called him out,” Scioscia said. Like it was so simple. Turns out, it was anything but. Eddings said that throwing a punch in the air didn’t actually mean he was out. “That’s my strike three mechanic when it’s a swinging strike,” Eddings said. If so, then what on Earth is his out mechanic? “What’s he have to do, bring both hands up?” Scioscia asked. Scioscia argued for several minutes to no avail. He argued with crew chief Jerry Crawford, with Eddings, with every umpire within reach. All to no avail. Remarkably, after seeing the replay, Eddings said he made the right call because the ball changed direction. Naturally, it cost them the game. Pablo Ozuna pinch ran, stole second, and scored on Joe Crede’s double. “I’m frustrated because we didn’t play well,”Scioscia said. “We didn’t play at a high enough level to absorb the bad breaks that come with a game. “It’s not the play that beat us, it’s the way we played.” For Scioscia, it was the right call. Somebody had to make one. — Steve Dilbeck can be reached at (818) 713-3607. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “People who say they’ve seen it all, they haven’t seen it all,” Angels first baseman Darin Erstad said. No, it turns out baseball has still more to offer. More incredulous plays and justifications. CHICAGO — And that’s the way the ball bounces, or doesn’t. That was one for the archives, for stranger than fiction. As bizarre and controversial an ending to a postseason game as you’ll find. center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Wednesday’s game turned on the strangest of calls, leaving the Angels livid, frustrated, and OK, bewildered. It also left them 2-1 losers Wednesday, tied up at a game apiece with the White Sox in the American League Championship Series and not liking it one bit. There was plenty of blame to be passed around afterward, beginning with home plate umpire Doug Eddings who blew the play, the call and the explanation. The Angels were not without fault themselves, beginning with Josh Paul who failed to make the most routine of fail-safe plays for a catcher, and almost everyone who reached for a bat. There was also weakened left-hander Jarrod Washburn, who battled back from strep throat to pitch 4 2/3 gutsy innings but opened with an error that would haunt the Angels. last_img

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