CLEVELAND (AP) - Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price had never seen anything like it. Neither had anyone else.
Aided by a bizarre play in which Cleveland runner David Murphy was fooled by a second ball on the field and tagged out, Cincinnati defeated the Indians 9-2 on Tuesday night.
“That’s one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen,” Price said. “I’m sure that’s going to go down as one of those plays we see between innings for years to come.”
Johnny Cueto’s fourth complete game of the season was overshadowed in the seventh inning when the Indians had a rally squelched after an errant warmup pitch from Cincinnati’s bullpen came on the field, resulting in Murphy being caught off third base.
Lonnie Chisenhall drew a leadoff walk, and Murphy singled. Yan Gomes’ double cut the lead to 6-2 and moved Murphy to third as a ball thrown by reliever Jumbo Diaz rolled behind second base.
The confused Murphy mistakenly thought the ball was live and edged off third. Third baseman Ramon Santiago took the relay throw and made the tag.
“The timing of it was crazy,” Murphy said. “I just didn’t know where the ball came from. It was unbelievable.”
Santiago was one of the few people on the field who knew the situation and called for shortstop Zach Cozart to make a throw.
“I was yelling, ‘Give me the ball,’” he said. “I saw the other ball, but I knew we had a play.”
Indians manager Terry Francona spoke briefly with crew chief Gerry Davis, but the call stood.
“He said he understood our frustration, but they can’t kill a play until the conclusion,” Francona said. “It was perfect timing, and it’s the responsibility of our coaches and runners to know what’s going on. I can’t fault Murph, though, because he saw the ball there and thought they couldn’t throw him out.”
Cueto (13-6) retired the next two hitters.
“I was confused,” he said of the strange play. “I thought a fan threw the ball.”
“Just when you think you’ve seen it all in baseball, you haven’t,” Santiago said. “You always see something new. That’s why it’s a beautiful game.”
Santiago hit a three-run homer in the second off Josh Tomlin (5-8) to break a 1-all tie for his first home run since Aug. 16 last season while playing for Detroit.