Weird shit happens all the time in Major League Baseball. I can’t remember something like *this* happening, though.

In the bottom of the third inning of Tuesday’s Braves-Nationals game, Juan Soto of the Nationals hit a ball deep to left center field. Ender Inciarte jumped to grab the ball, but couldn’t make the catch. The ball deflected back into the field of play, where left fielder Adam Duvall caught it. Duvall threw the ball back into the infield, where Trea Turner retreated back to first base to avoid a double play.

Or….did he?

Replays were inconclusive as to whether or not the ball hit off of Inciarte’s glove, or if it hit off the wall. If the ball hit his glove, Soto would have been out on an 8-7 flyout (which isn’t something you see too often in the box score). If the ball hit the wall, it would have still be a live ball, and Soto wouldn’t have been out at all.

So, what’s the call? The umpires ended up ruling that the ball hit the wall, but Soto was out because he passed the retreating Turner on the basepaths.

That is…probably the correct call? The umpires couldn’t exactly award Soto first base and put Turner at second, considering he voluntarily retreated. Turner beat the throw back to first, so he wouldn’t get called out for any reason as the lead runner. Soto *did* pass Turner on the bases, so calling him out for the violation seems to be the best possible outcome here. Otherwise, you reward Turner for going back to first base on his own.

About Joe Lucia

I'm the managing editor of Awful Announcing and the news editor of The Comeback. I also made The Outside Corner a thing for six seasons.

1 thought on “One of the weirdest plays you’ll ever see took place during the Braves-Nationals game on Tuesday

  1. It’s a weird play, but does sound like the right call. Soto had passed first base (and was further up foul line) and Turner slid back into first. At that point, Turner was at first and Soto was passed first. If Soto retreated back toward home, he probably would have been out by force at first or if they both were on first, Turner would have been out if tagged since he was forced to second (or if they threw it to second). It would be a weird one to play—either gamble that it wasn’t a catch and stay at second (or more) or retreat to first ensuring someone would be out.

    The official rules has a comment on the passed runner rule that is pretty similar, in that Turner caused Soto to pass him.

    Rule 5.09(b)(9) Comment:
    A runner may be deemed to have passed a preceding (i.e., lead) runner based on his actions or the actions of a preceding runner.

    PLAY—Runners on second base and third base with one out. The runner from third base (i.e., the lead runner) makes an advance toward home and is caught in a rundown between third base and home plate. Believing the lead runner will be tagged out, the runner at second base (i.e., the trailing runner) advances to third base. Before being tagged, the lead runner runs back to and beyond third base toward left field. At this time, the trailing runner has passed the lead runner as a result of the lead runner’s actions. As a result, the trailing runner is out and third base is unoccupied. The lead runner is entitled to third base if he returns to touch it before he is out, see Rule 5.06(a)(1), unless he is declared out for abandoning the bases.

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