‘Bizarre’ ending to Braves game


Braves veteran Chase d’Arnaud stuck out with the bases loaded to end the game. The Nationals gathered near the mound to celebrate the 3-1 victory over the Braves. The grounds crew members rushed the field, ready to begin their usual post-game routine, and fans at SunTrust Park started filing out.

Except the game wasn’t over.

“It was bizarre,” d’Arnaud said.

Home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor had called a foul ball on d’Arnaud’s swing. It was an inexplicable call because d’Arnaud’s bat missed Shawn Kelley’s sharp slider by a wide margin before catcher Matt Wieters stopped it in the dirt.

“It looked like he missed it by about eight inches and they called a foul tip,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “That was good for us. We got another pitch. We had an opportunity to win the game.”

There was confusion when Bucknor didn’t walk off the field and instead went out to break up the Nationals’ celebration. Bucknor summoned d’Arnaud and the three Braves base runners back from the dugout. The grounds crew members scurried off the field, pushing the wheelbarrow that holds the dirt for the mound and driving tractors back to their storage area.

D’Arnaud would get another shot.

“It seemed like they were slapping hands and next thing you know they were like, ‘Chase put your helmet back on, he said it was a foul ball,’” d’Arnaud said. “I put my helmet back on and went back up there to try to win the ballgame.”

With the game restarted, Kelley had a 1-2 count on d’Arnaud, who had entered the game as a pinch runner in the top of the eighth inning. D’Arnaud swung and missed at the next pitch, and this time Bucknor got the call right.

“I felt like it was a do-over,” d’Arnaud said. “You have a mulligan, a chance to redeem yourself. I stayed on a fastball and unfortunately didn’t get a hit.”

The Nationals apparently weren’t happy that the Braves got another chance to win the game on a blown call. Outfielder Jayson Werth appeared to yell at Bucknor as the umpire walked off the field. Another member of the umpiring crew led Bucknor away to the dressing room.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was coy when asked about the final sequence.

“I really have no comment for that,” Freeman said, smiling. “I’m going to keep my mouth closed on that one. I think we all know the answer to that.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Braves

On bolstering pitching staff, no-trade clauses and Acuna’s path to majors
On bolstering pitching staff, no-trade clauses and Acuna’s path to majors

The Braves haven’t made a move to strengthen their starting rotation and bolster their bullpen, but new general manager Alex Anthopoulos is undeterred with so much time remaining during the offseason and various options for reaching those ends. Some relievers the Braves considered have already signed with other teams – for rather large...
Swanson, Albies could swap places this spring, at least for a look
Swanson, Albies could swap places this spring, at least for a look

Don’t be surprised if Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and second baseman Ozzie Albies swap places during spring training, at least to take some grounders and possibly more. New general manager Alex Anthopoulos knows that both former top prospects came up as shortstops before Albies was switched to second base in 2016 when Braves officials decided...
Snitker embracing baseball’s information age with arrival of Anthopoulos
Snitker embracing baseball’s information age with arrival of Anthopoulos

Two things that Braves manager Brian Snitker never would’ve anticipated: That he would have the second-most major league managerial experience among National League East skippers entering the 2018 season; and, at age 62, suddenly he would be immersed in cutting-edge analytics after the arrival of a general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, who&rsquo...
Snitker on Acuna: He looked ready to make team at 2017 spring training
Snitker on Acuna: He looked ready to make team at 2017 spring training

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Ronald Acuna is still a teenager, but that won’t stop the Braves from putting the outfielder in their lineup in 2018, if and when he’s ready.  “If you’re ready, you’re ready,” new Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said, speaking generally about unusually young players getting...
Brian Snitker Q&A: ‘It’s going to be good’
Brian Snitker Q&A: ‘It’s going to be good’

Braves manager Brian Snitker addressed the media Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, during baseball’s Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Snitker addressed the club’s performance last season and touched on what the team may look like in 2018, including what could be expected of Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies. This is the entire transcript...
More Stories