Chris Taylor after being tagged out.

It’s always remarkable in baseball when outs come unexpectedly, and the Los Angeles Dodgers provided an example of that in Game 1 of the 2021 National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves Saturday night. In the top of the ninth with the game tied 2-2, the Braves put in closer Will Smith, and he got Albert Pujols and AJ Pollock to pop out. But Smith then walked Chris Taylor, and pinch-hitter Cody Bellinger came through (again, in sharp contrast to his dismal regular season) with a single to right, which should have put Taylor on second and in scoring position. But despite the ball only going to shallow right, Taylor rounded second and went for third, the Braves threw behind him to shortstop Dansby Swanson, he hesitated and got in a rundown between Swanson and third baseman Austin Riley, and Swanson tagged him out in a rundown to end the inning:

Of course, it’s not assured that the Dodgers would have scored even without Taylor’s TOOTBLAN (“Thrown out on the bases like a nincompoop,” it’s even in the MLB.com glossary these days) error. But leadoff hitter Mookie Betts was coming up, and there’s certainly a chance he could have gotten a hit to score Taylor (seen above after this mistake). The error meant that the Braves only needed one run to win in the bottom of the ninth. And they got just that, with Ozzie Albies singling to center with one out, stealing second, and then scoring on a single to left from Austin Riley:

And Taylor’s basepath error meant that that run was enough.

[@MLB on Twitter; photo from Brett Davis/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.