Two players on the Seattle Mariners got their wires crossed Monday in a game against the Houston Astros — and the result was one of the most bizarre plays of the season.
With one out in the top of the sixth inning, Astros hitter Yuli Gurriel stepped up against Seattle pitcher Wade LeBlanc with runners at first and third.
Gurriel hit a ground ball to Mariners shortstop Dylan Moore, who fielded it cleanly and tried to make a play at home to get the lead runner, Alex Bregman.
But there was one big problem — no one was at home plate to catch his throw.
Mariners catcher Omar Narvaez, no doubt thinking Moore would opt for a double play to get out of the inning, ran up the first-base line to back up first.
The throw home sailed to the backstop. Narvaez turned around and retrieved it, but not until after Bregman scored easily.
“I’m not sure I’ve seen that before,” the Mariners announcer said.
Amazingly, the play was ruled a fielder’s choice, not an error, according to The Associated Press.
It should be called a really bad fielder’s choice.
But who was at fault?
The double play would have ended the inning, so one might think Moore made the wrong play.
But Seattle manager Scott Servais sided with his shortstop.
“He vacated home plate too soon, obviously,” Servais said of Narvaez, according to The Seattle Times.
“It was a strange play. I’ve actually had that play happen to me as a catcher, believe it or not. Same exact thing, and I learned a lesson. I think Omar did tonight, too.”
“But when the ball’s hit the first thing you’re thinking is, ‘It’s a double play.’ Dylan actually made the right read. He wasn’t going to be able to turn a double play on that. He made a very athletic throw to the plate and Omar just vacated too early,” Servais said.
The run made it 4-2 in favor of Houston, which turned out to be the final score.
Framber Valdez (2-2) got the win in relief for the Astros, while Seattle starter Cory Gearrin (0-2) took the loss.
The Astros improved to 41-20, while the Mariners fell to 25-38.
The teams were set to play each other again Tuesday night in Seattle.
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