Error ruling ends Yu's bid for perfect game
Official scorer charges Rios with miscue on shallow fly in seventh inning
ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Alex Rios willingly took the blame on a seventh-inning pop fly that fell into right field and cost Yu Darvish a chance at a perfect game. Rios was charged with an error even though second baseman Rougned Odor was closer to the ball.
"We had the shift on and I thought that he [Odor] was a little closer to the ball than I was," Rios said. "At the end, it's my responsibility to call him off, and it's a shame that I couldn't help him achieve a great pitching performance tonight. I should have taken control of that ball."
The play occurred in the seventh inning of the Rangers' 8-0 victory over the Red Sox. Darvish had retired the first two hitters of the inning, bringing up David Ortiz. The Rangers went into their usual shift with three infielders on the right side and Odor playing well into right field.
Darvish fell behind 3-0 in the count, threw a strike and then got Ortiz to hit a high pop into right field. Odor backpedaled and seemed to settle under the ball. Rios started coming in as well, and normally it is the outfielder's responsibility to call off the infielder.
Rios did not. He backed off and Odor failed to make the catch.
"I was trying to do my best effort to get to the ball," Odor said. "With Rios, I didn't know if he called it or not. I heard something."
Rangers manager Ron Washington didn't pass judgment on who was at fault, saying only, "My take is it should have been caught."
Either player could have been given the error. That really didn't matter. The question was if veteran official scorer Steve Weller would call it a hit or an error. He ruled an error on Rios, which kept alive the no-hit bid even if the perfect game was over.
Rule 10.12 covers errors in the official scoring rules and includes the comment: "The official scorer shall charge an outfielder with an error if such outfielder allows a fly ball to drop to the ground if, in the official scorer's judgment, at that position making ordinary effort would have caught such fly ball."
That's how Weller ruled it. But since the play impacted a bid for a perfect game, he called the Elias Sports Bureau and asked for a review of his scoring decision. The bureau agreed with the call.
"In my judgment, both players could've caught the ball," Weller said through a pool reporter. "I felt like Alex Rios at one point raised his hand to call him off and the second baseman basically stopped at that point. Then -- these guys are very perceptive, they can see around them -- he felt like there's no way Rios is going to get to the ball and he lunged for it and that's when the ball landed. That was my feeling, that Rios called him off and he made a last ditch effort when he realized Rios wasn't going to get there.
"Again, we can't hear what's going on the field, but on the visual -- and I freeze-framed it -- he raised his hand, and it certainly looked like at that moment is when the second baseman stopped and then so did Rios and that's why I gave Rios the error rather than the second baseman. I felt Rios had an easier play coming in, I felt like he called him off and then both players stopped on the ball. The second baseman did everything he could to get to the ball and dove for it and just couldn't come up with it."
Rios agreed with the call.
"It should be called an error," Rios said. "We were camped under it."
That's what he told Darvish.
"I told him that I should have caught it," Rios said. "That's it."
The Red Sox felt it should have been ruled a hit.
"It's one of the very rare, very rare times that you see a ball never touched by someone that's ruled an error," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Typically, 10 out of 10, that's a base hit."
"I know that I hit a ball that was supposed to be caught, a guy's throwing a no-hitter," Ortiz said. "We all understand. But when it comes down to the rules in the game, that's a hit. That's the rule that we all know and that's the rule that the game had for more than 100 years. A ball in the outfield dropped in between infield and outfield, nobody touched it."
Ortiz made everything moot with his ninth-inning single.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.