8/19 What happened in the 7th
This was just too weird. The Cubs had a 2-1 lead going into the Padres seventh on Thursday. Sean Marshall had taken over for Carlos Zambrano and walked Miguel Tejada, then gave up three straight singles, including a RBI single by Ryan Ludwick, which tied the game. Chris Headley singled and one out later, Will Venable hit a two-run single to chase Marshall.
Then it got bizarre. Denorfia bounced a grounder to Aramis Ramirez at third, and he threw to catcher Koyie Hill, who chased Headley back and tagged him. Venable had scampered to third on the rundown. As Hill walked away, he appeared to have called time. But the umpires didn’t think so. No one was covering at home and Venable scored on what was ruled a fielder’s choice.
“You have to put your arms up to stop play,” Lou Piniella said. “[Hill] put his wrist up and the umpire didn’t acknowledge it. You’ve got to get your hands up and make sure the umpires know it’s ‘time out.'”
Padres third base coach Glenn Hoffman told Venable he had a window.
“I noticed it,” Venable said, “but it wasn’t until [Hoffman] nonchalantly came over and confirmed it. It ended up being a closer play at the plate than I thought. It was a great heads-up call by Hoffy.”
First baseman Xavier Nady recognized what was happening and tried to cover home.
“I was trying — he’s a lot faster than I am,” Nady said of Venable. “I didn’t know what was going on. I bolted and it wasn’t quite enough.”
Hill said he made the same gesture he usually does.
“I think in that situation I need to be more emphatic about it just to make sure because you’ve got guys scattered all over the field,” Hill said. “Credit [Nady] for getting to home plate because he’s holding a guy on and he has to stay put at first.”
Hill’s plan was to call time, then go to the mound to check on pitcher Justin Berg.
“What’s frustrating is it wasn’t a lack of concentration or just cluelessness,” Hill said. “It just happened. I felt I asked for time with the same gesture I always use.”
– Carrie Muskat