Friday, September 3, 2021

Buster's Pocket Full of Posey Rules Misfire Hurts SF in Two Runners, One Base Fiasco

When Giants catcher Buster Posey tagged Dodgers baserunners R2 Corey Seager and R3 Justin Turner as they both occupied third base, it seemed only 3B Umpire Nestor Ceja knew about baseball's two runners-one-base rule 5.06(a)(2) as all three players vacated the immediate area, only for Posey to then retag the runner who was already out.

The Giants needed a double play to win the game and, had Posey heeded the Official Baseball Rules, San Francisco would have gotten it. Instead, Los Angeles kept a runner on third base, who subsequently scored to tie the game with two out in the 9th inning.

Play: With one out and two on (R2, R3), Dodgers batter Will Smith hit a 0-1 fastball from Giants pitcher Jake McGee on the ground to second baseman Thairo Estrada, who threw home to catcher Posey as Dodgers baserunner R3 Turner ran down the line. Posey ran Turner all the way back to third base as R2 Seager stood on it, with Posey tagging both Dodgers runners.

: 3B Umpire Ceja no-called Posey's first tag of Turner, and then pointed to and ruled Seager out on Posey's ensuing tag of Seager. Both Dodgers players then vacated third base and Posey opted to pursue and tag retired R2 Seager while R3 Turner scampered safely back to third base.

Mechanics-wise, umpires employ a point or bird-dog in such a situation to make it clear which runner is the player being declared out. Unfortunately, Turner didn't appear to pay attention. Then again, neither did Posey.

Rule: Official Baseball Rule 5.06(a)(2) states: "Two runners may not occupy a base, but if, while the ball is alive, two runners are touching a base, the following runner shall be out when tagged and the preceding runner is entitled to the base, unless Rule 5.06(b)(2) applies." OBR 5.06(b)(2), for what it's worth, pertains to force plays and effectively reverses entitlements in such a situation (on a force play, the trailing runner is entitled to the base).
Related PostRight of Return - Occupied Base (4/3/18).

Conclusion: As Giants broadcaster Jon Miller correctly stated, the trail runner (Seager) was out and Posey tagged the wrong runner (Seager), effectively tagging out an already-retired player for a second time. Fortunately for San Francisco, the Giants defeated their division rival Dodgers in extra innings, thanks to a walk-off error that enabled Posey to reach first base on a bases-loaded ground ball.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Giants lose save chance after Posey flubs possible game-ending double play (SF)


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