PHOENIX (AP) - The Cincinnati Reds watched all the baserunners closely as the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrated what appeared to be a game-winning hit in the 10th inning.
Noticing the runners at first and second never reached the next base, they got the ball back from a groundskeeper and started tagging bases.
Their challenge came up just short.
Setting off a crazy finish after Owings’ hit, the Reds lost 4-3 to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday after the umpires ruled the middle two runners did not have to touch the next base for the winning run to count.
“The only dispute were the runners going from first to second and second to third did not touch the advanced bases to complete the play,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We would have had an argument going to ether third or second base if there were two outs but because there was only one out that nullified our ability to make that challenge.”
The Diamondbacks loaded the bases against Ryan Mattheus (1-3) with one out in the 10th inning, bringing up Owings.
He came through, sending a ball over the head of Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton and his teammates rushing from the dugout.
But as the Diamondbacks celebrated in the middle of the diamond, the Reds retrieved the ball - a stadium worker tossed it back - and began tagging the bases. The Reds claimed Arizona runners didn’t properly advance to touch the bags before leaving the field, and should be called out on force plays.
The umpires discussed the Reds’ belated try for a double play for a couple of minutes before ruling the game was over. TV replays appeared to show at least two Arizona runners leaving without touching the next base, but it didn’t matter. With one out in the inning, only the runners heading to first and home had to touch their respective bases.
“With one out, they got it right,” Price said. “The runner scored, batter-runner made it to first base and that ended the game.”
The confusion on the bases might’ve prompted some baseball fans with a sense of history to recall a most famous play from more than 100 years ago involving Fred Merkle. He was called out in a 1908 game for failing to touch the next base on what should’ve been a winning hit in a pivotal matchup between the New York Giants and Chicago Cubs.
Paul Goldschmidt started the rally against Mattheus with a walk and finished with three hits and an RBI to end a rare slump. David Peralta followed with a single, his career-high fifth hit. Jarrod Saltalamacchia then put down a sacrifice bunt and Mattheus intentionally walked Jake Lamb to load the bases.
Owings was up next, and his fly that landed in center set off the craziness.
“I was little scared; I had never been through anything like that,” Peralta said.
Daniel Hudson escaped a jam in the eighth inning by getting a pair of outs with two on and Brad Ziegler pitched the ninth to keep the game tied for Arizona. Josh Collmenter (4-6) pitched a perfect 10th inning.
Stuck in a 3-for-27 rut, Goldschmidt worked on some mechanical issues with hitting coach Turner Ward and it paid off in the first inning, when he lined a run-scoring double into the corner in left off Anthony DeSclafani. It was his 381st career RBI, tying Matt Williams for fifth on Arizona’s all-time list.
Goldschmidt doubled in his next at-bat, in the third inning, tying Chad Tracy for fifth on the Diamondbacks’ career list with 153. He singled in the fifth inning and scored on Peralta’s run-scoring double that tied the game at 2.
“Their guys in the middle of the order, with Goldschmidt and Perralta, wore us out,” Price said. “We didn’t have an answer for them.”
The Diamondbacks have tried to be conservative with Patrick Corbin in his return from Tommy John surgery and erred on the side of caution his last start, lifting him after four outs and 54 pitches.
Corbin lasted much longer in his seventh post-surgery start, allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings. The left-hander was lifted after Eugenio Suarez and Ivan De Jesus led off the seventh inning with consecutive doubles to tie the game at 3.
DeSclafani, the 10th straight rookie to start for the Reds, allowed three runs on 10 hits in six innings.
Reds: LHP David Holmberg, Monday’s starter against San Diego, is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts since joining the rotation after Johnny Cueto was traded to Kansas City.
Diamondbacks: RHP Rubby De La Rosa is 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA his last five home starts heading into Monday’s game at Chase Field against Philadelphia.
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