Infield-fly rule helps Reds turn unusual DP
After popup eludes Phillips, Pujols tagged after leaving first
CINCINNATI -- Matt Holliday's first-inning popup on Thursday certainly didn't make for your average inning-ending 4-6 double play at Great American Ball Park.With runners on first and second and one out for the Cardinals in the top of the first against Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo, Holliday lifted a ball high in the gray sky near second base. Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips had positioned himself for a routine catch until the wind shifted the ball to his right and dropped in on the shallow outfield grass. Phillips quickly retrieved the ball and threw to second base, where shortstop Orlando Cabrera touched the bag. That's when some confusion set in. Second-base umpire Mike Reilly had signaled that the infield-fly rule was in effect, which rendered Holliday out automatically. Albert Pujols was the runner on first base and thought he was forced out at second by Phillips' throw. Pujols left first base and headed for the dugout and was tagged out by Cabrera for the third out that completed the double play. "The guys didn't hear it," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "It's one of those things."
Since runner Skip Schumaker went from second base to third base on the play, many in the press box thought that he was the forceout at second when Cabrera touched the base. But according to the official MLB rules, "when an infield-fly rule is called, runners may advance at their own risk."The Reds defeated the Cardinals by a 2-1 score on a Jonny Gomes solo home run in the bottom of the ninth.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.