Gonzalez, Rockies catch a break
Center fielder's drop ruled an out in second inning
LOS ANGELES -- It was the catch that wasn't, a mistaken call that for a long time appeared might play a significant part in a very significant game that the Rockies ended up losing, 5-0.
With the Dodgers and Rockies battling Saturday with the National League West title on the line, Los Angeles outfielder Manny Ramirez led off the bottom of the second with a sinking line drive to right-center.
Colorado center fielder Carlos Gonzalez made chase, diving, catching the ball in his glove, hitting the grass hard and rolling, and then coming up to show the ball in his bare hand.
From home plate, it appeared a nice catch. Second-base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt thought so, too. So did Rockies manager Jim Tracy.
"It looked like a hell of an effort to me," Tracy said. "What I saw was a player hit the ground and just put the ball up. I guess that's the way the umpire saw it, too."
Only replays clearly showed Gonzalez dropped the ball as he hit the ground. The ball bounced off the grass and onto his chest as he rolled with his back to Wendelstedt.
When it was ruled a catch, fans in right-center began to boo. And as it turned out, with good reason.
"That ball hit the ground," Gonzalez said. "Obviously, the umpire didn't see the play. It was hard because I was blocking the ball.
"I caught it in the air, and then when I hit the ground, the ball came out of my glove but it was on my chest, so I was protecting the ball and trying to hide it from the umpire."
Successfully, on this night.
The game remained scoreless for six innings, the play appearing to grow in significance until the Dodgers bailed the umpiring crew out by scoring five runs in the seventh to earn the division-clinching 5-0 victory.
Gonzalez, however, may have discovered a second career.
"I'm an actor," he said, walking through the postgame clubhouse.
Steve Dilbeck is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.