We’ve all seen those great over-the-wall catches by outfielders in which they take away home runs, but have you ever seen a player’s own teammate rob him of a dinger?
That’s exactly what happened Saturday in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The teammate who hijacked the home run didn’t leap over a fence to do it, but the end result was all the same.
Deven Marrero joined the Diamondbacks just three weeks ago after spending parts of the past three seasons with the Boston Red Sox. Going into Saturday, the utility infielder had just five home runs in his MLB career, and he had yet to hit one this season.
Marrero thought he got his first of the year with two men on base in the top of the fourth inning, when he launched a ball clear over the left-center-field wall of Dodger Stadium. But due to a bizarre baserunning incident, the home run didn’t count.
While Marrero was rounding first base, he passed Alex Avila, who was the runner on first base when the ball was hit. Instead of trotting home, Avila had gone back to first to tag up, thinking that the ball was actually caught.
Avila was clearly confused, and even looked unsure when he eventually realized it was a home run.
Following an official video review, it was determined that Marrero did in fact pass Avila on the basepaths. That meant Marrero was automatically out at the point where he passed his teammate, thus turning his first home run of the year into a two-run single.
Deven Marrero clobbers what looks like his first HR with the @Dbacks, but after review is called out for passing Alex Avila on the bases. Marrero is credited with a 2-run single and the #Dbacks lead 5-1 in the fourth. pic.twitter.com/3u1iEvuejn
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) April 15, 2018
After the game, Avila took the blame and said he just misread the flight of the ball.
“What we try to do is be very aggressive on tagging up, especially on deep fly balls,” Avila said, according to The Arizona Republic. “That was a terrible read on my part and probably one of the more embarrassing things I’ve done on the field.”
Both Avila and first-base coach Dave McKay felt guilty about what had happened. Each tried to take the blame for robbing Marrero of his homer.
“I’m like, ‘There’s no way it was your fault. It’s my fault,’” Avila said. “Mac’s extremely involved. He takes a lot of pride in that. I think it shows in our team’s baserunning as a whole. That’s impressive.”
“I definitely owe Deven after taking away a homer from him. We’ll talk about what I need to do to make it up for him,” he added.
This isn’t the first time a player has been robbed of a home run by his teammates. New York Mets fans will no doubt remember Robin Ventura’s “Grand Slam Single” in Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS.
Ventura hit what he thought was a walk-off grand slam in the 15th inning, only to be mobbed by his teammates while he was rounding first base. Ventura never even made it to second base, so the play was ruled a single. Since only one runner on base made it home, Ventura was credited with just one RBI.
There’s actually a connection between that “grand slam” and Marrero’s “home run.” Orel Hershiser, a member of the Dodgers broadcast crew, was a teammate of Ventura’s on the 1999 Mets.
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