Batting-order mixup costs Marlins an out
Manager Gonzalez ejected explaining Barden's spot in ninth
MIAMI -- Confusion led to controversy in the ninth inning on Saturday. Ultimately, it led to a crucial batting-out-of-order call, and the ejection of Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez.
With the Rays-Marlins game tied at 5 in the ninth, Brian Barden opened the inning with what appeared to be a full-count walk while facing Rafael Soriano.
As Barden headed to first base, Rays manager Joe Maddon went to plate umpire Lance Barksdale making an appeal that his lineup card had Wes Helms slotted ninth.
After the Marlins lost, 9-8, in 11 innings to the Rays, Gonzalez insisted he provided the correct information to Barksdale.
"He screwed it up," Gonzalez said flatly afterward. "I'll go anywhere you want me to go with it. I told him where the guys were hitting, and he gave Joe the wrong place they're hitting. I'll take it any place they want me to."
The confusion stemmed from Helms being on deck in the eighth inning when Ronny Paulino lifted a flyout to left field to end the inning.
The Marlins had just made a triple-substitution at the top of the ninth. Barden was entering the game to play shortstop for Hanley Ramirez, who left with a tight right hamstring. Helms did enter the game to play third base because Jorge Cantu was pinch-run for in the eighth by Emilio Bonifacio. And pitcher Leo Nunez entered to pitch.
Before the ninth inning began, Gonzalez met with Barksdale to tell him the pending moves. That's where the confusion began.
"What we had were three changes in the lineup," said Tom Hallion, the umpire crew chief who was at second base during the game. "Fredi had come out and gave Lance the position of the players, and Lance confirmed it with Fredi and wrote it down on his lineup card. That's what we went by when Maddon came out and said, 'We've got batting out of order here.' Lance confirmed it with Fredi before he left to go back into the dugout, and that's all we had to go by then."
During the game, there was a great deal of crowd noise because of an air horn giveaway.
Hallion said he wasn't sure if the noise caused confusion between Gonzalez and Barksdale.
"It could have," Hallion said. "It was the most uncomfortable baseball game I've been a part of in a long time because of that. Whether that had anything to do with it, I don't know, but it could have. When was the last time you heard something like that at a baseball game? Never. You don't see this kind of stuff at baseball games."
After Maddon noted that Barden wasn't supposed to be batting ninth, Barksdale ruled Barden was out. Gonzalez argued, trying to make the point that Barden indeed was slotted ninth and Helms third.
"I was waiting for him to hit. I mean, if he makes an out there, then you don't say anything," Maddon said. "Then you wait for the next guy that's out of order to come up. And then you call it on him."
During the discussion, Gonzalez was ejected for the first time this season.
The official ruling on Barden's out was putout to the catcher, who was Dioner Navarro.
The game went into extra innings, and Barden ended up hitting third, with Helms ninth. After batting out of order, the lineup was corrected.
"It was my word against him," Gonzalez said of Barksdale. "He's the official lineup card, and that's the one that counts. It's embarrassing, but I'm here to tell you, he got it wrong."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.