WASHINGTON (AP) — Atlanta Braves left fielder Justin Upton saw the baseball nestle underneath some green wall padding and initially, instead of trying to make a play, threw his arms up and waited for a call from the umpires.
All the while, Washington's Ian Desmond kept running, making it all the way around the bases for an inside-the-park homer, apparently tying the game in the fifth inning.
Hold on, though.
This is a new era in the majors, where all sorts of plays can be reviewed and changed. So Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez challenged the non-call, and Desmond's home run was switched to a ground-rule double after a five-minute delay. Desmond then got caught stealing, capping a significant sequence Friday in Atlanta's 2-1 victory over Washington.
"These umpires, they're good enough," Upton said. "But sometimes they need a little bit of help."
The result spoiled the Nationals' home opener and gave rookie manager Matt Williams his first loss following a 3-0 start.
Williams did not agree with the way the review went, pointing out that Upton did eventually grab the ball and heave it toward the infield.
"One of the reasons we have replay is to make sure that we get the calls right. I have a question with that one, though, because of what happened after the fact," Williams said. "The fact that when he had to, he reached down and threw it in."
Upton said he paused while hoping for an umpire to say the play was dead, but eventually did go get the baseball because shortstop Andrelton Simmons "was panicking, telling me to throw the ball."
Added Upton: "I made the play a little more confusing than it should have been."
Some in the sellout crowd of 42,834 chanted "Home run! Home run!" during the review delay. And after the homer was overturned, fans booed Upton whenever he was involved in the action, whether he was catching a flyout or stepping into the batter's box.
Desmond, meanwhile, was determined to run until someone told him to stop.
"With the replay stuff the way it is now, not going to leave anything to doubt," he said.
As for this season's expanded replay, Desmond said: "Everyone's trying to figure it out."
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