Second baseman Kazuo Matsui tried to get the umps to invoke the Hal McRae Rule again last night in game 2 of the National League Championship Series.
This time it was a clean slide and the umps got it right again. Come on, Matsui, be happy with what you got. The infielder was motioning for the undeserved call even before the play was over. So the bottles stayed in the stands.
CO beat AZ again for a 2-0 lead in the series, and the D-Backs are hard-pressed, having lost both games at home.
Though Hal McCrae failed to be invoked again, there was a repeat of a Diamondback bonehead play, with a key AZ runner being tagged out just past second base for the second time in as many games.
The Rockies were two outs away from completing a 2-1 victory when their closer, Manny Corpas, hit Chris Young with a 1-2 pitch. Astounding transgression to give AZ life where there was none. Stephen Drew singled Young to third, and Eric Byrnes tied the game with a grounder to Matsui.
Matsui pulled Troy Tulowitzki off second base with a bad throw and the ump rightly refused to give the “vicinity” courtesy call. Drew left the bag thinking he was out, even though the ump had clearly signaled “safe.” He was tagged, shortening the D-Backs threat and forcing them into extra innings.
There is some controversy about how long Melton left Jose Valverde in. The Rockies won 3-2 in 11 innings when Valverde walked Willy Taveras with the bases loaded and two outs. It was the winning run. “You’ve got to leave him in there until he gives up a run,” Melvin said. “He’s our closer. You’ve got to at least go with your best until he gives up a run.”
Uh … even if that run can beat you? He wasn’t pitching well. You take a pitcher out of the game when that happens.
But the bonehead play at second, in my mind, looms larger. Melvin’s error is a calculated managerial decision; Drew’s is a space-cadet episode in the biggest game of his life. You can argue a manager’s rationale (and I do disagree with Melvin), but you can’t argue a stupid play. Drew wandering away was definitely that.