Rule 5.10 (Editorial Note: This rule, under the 2015-era renumbering of OBR, is now 5.12(b) (1) through (8)) specifies that an umpire may call "Time," thereby causing the ball to become dead, when:
(a) weather or darkness makes further play impossible (e.g., a dust storm or lightning strike);
(b) light failure (e.g., stadium power outage);
(c) a player or umpire is incapacitated; however, "Time" is withheld while the ball is live;
(d) a manager or coach requests "Time" for a substitution or a player conference (e.g., a mound visit);
(e) an umpire wishes to examine the ball or equipment or consult with a manager, player or other umpires;
(f) a fielder falls out of play after catching a fly ball;
(g) an umpire orders any person removed from the playing field (e.g., an ejection)
(h) Except for light failure & incapacitation during a play in which a player is entitled to a base, umpires shall not call "Time" while a play is in progress.
Initially kept alive as Ransom crossed home plate, HP Umpire Mike Estabrook gestured "Time," sending Ransom back to third base while Welke entertained Lombardozzi and manager Davey Johnson's argument. Because Welke immediately engaged Lombardozzi while play appeared to have been alive, he inadvertently invoked Rule 5.10(e), which states that time is out and the ball is dead when an umpire wishes to consult with a [player], which is essentially what Welke did, suggesting time was out at this point. However, when Ransom returned to third base, he argued with 3B Umpire Laz Diaz. Replays indicate Diaz had granted "Time" to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman while Ransom was still near third base.
Ransom scored on the very next play, though original R1—Aramis Ramirez—was stranded at second base to end the inning, a significant play in a game the Nationals won 11-10 in 11 innings.
Though not to such an extent, arguments with umpires have prematurely killed plays before.
In June, Tim McClelland ejected Yorvit Torrealba for histrionic gestures following a safe call on a play at home plate while the ball was still live. This invocation of Rule 5.10(g) caused the ball to become dead and forced Angels baserunners to return to bases occupied at the time of the ejection.
Fortunately, this seems to be the exception rather than the rule. That same day, 2B Umpire Ted Barrett and 2B Umpire Marvin Hudson both kept a play alive while Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus argued that a batted ball hit a baserunner.
In 2010, Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett argued a call at first base while a baserunner attempted to score, resulting in a Red Sox run. 1B Umpire Brian Runge correctly kept the play alive and did not engage Burnett while the bases were being run.
Wrap: Nationals at Brewers, 7/29/12
Video: Welke-Lombardozzi dispute negates Brewers' chance at scoring two runs
UEFL Video: 3B Umpire Laz Diaz grants timeout while play is still alive