PHOENIX – It was a play so strange, a ruling so weird, that even after the game Diamondbacks right-hander Dan Haren still hadn’t wrapped his mind around it.
Understanding how a runner who doesn’t tag up can score on a lineout even with three outs being recorded seems on par with trying to confirm cold fusion.
But the Diamondbacks know this much: It contributed to their 3-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday afternoon at Chase Field, a game that sent them to a second consecutive series loss to open the season.
On the day their ace, Brandon Webb, landed on the disabled list, the Diamondbacks dropped to 2-4. They have a .218 batting average, have scored two runs or fewer four times and have a 6.00 ERA.
Though the Diamondbacks managed just two hits off Dodgers lefty Randy Wolf in seven-plus innings, it was hard to fully blame them for not grasping a rule that left nearly everyone in the ballpark scratching their heads when home-plate umpire Larry Vanover awarded a run to the Dodgers in the second inning.
There were runners on second and third base and one out when Haren caught a line drive off of Wolf’s bat and threw to second baseman Felipe Lopez, who tagged base runner Juan Pierre for the third out.
Andre Ethier, the runner from third, never tagged up but crossed home plate before Lopez tagged Pierre. Because it wasn’t a forceout – and because the Diamondbacks ran off the field without appealing to third – Ethier’s run counted.
“They did get it right,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. “That is the call. If you tag the runner at second, you have to go to appeal before you come off the field to get the runner at third.”
That tied the score at 1, and the Dodgers took the lead an inning later on James Loney’s RBI single to right.
Wolf retired 16 consecutive batters until Chad Tracy led off the eighth with a single, but the Diamondbacks couldn’t push across the tying run, leaving Haren (six innings, two runs) as the tough-luck loser for the second start in a row.
MONDAY’S GAME: St. Louis (Wellemeyer 0-1) at Arizona (Davis 0-1), 6:40 p.m. TV: none. Radio: 1490 AM