Braves veteran Chase d’Arnaud stuck out with the bases loaded to end the game. The Nationals gathered near the mound to celebrate the 3-1 victory over the Braves. The grounds crew members rushed the field, ready to begin their usual post-game routine, and fans at SunTrust Park started filing out.
Except the game wasn’t over.
“It was bizarre,” d’Arnaud said.
Home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor had called a foul ball on d’Arnaud’s swing. It was an inexplicable call because d’Arnaud’s bat missed Shawn Kelley’s sharp slider by a wide margin before catcher Matt Wieters stopped it in the dirt.
“It looked like he missed it by about eight inches and they called a foul tip,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “That was good for us. We got another pitch. We had an opportunity to win the game.”
There was confusion when Bucknor didn’t walk off the field and instead went out to break up the Nationals’ celebration. Bucknor summoned d’Arnaud and the three Braves base runners back from the dugout. The grounds crew members scurried off the field, pushing the wheelbarrow that holds the dirt for the mound and driving tractors back to their storage area.
D’Arnaud would get another shot.
“It seemed like they were slapping hands and next thing you know they were like, ‘Chase put your helmet back on, he said it was a foul ball,’” d’Arnaud said. “I put my helmet back on and went back up there to try to win the ballgame.”
With the game restarted, Kelley had a 1-2 count on d’Arnaud, who had entered the game as a pinch runner in the top of the eighth inning. D’Arnaud swung and missed at the next pitch, and this time Bucknor got the call right.
“I felt like it was a do-over,” d’Arnaud said. “You have a mulligan, a chance to redeem yourself. I stayed on a fastball and unfortunately didn’t get a hit.”
The Nationals apparently weren’t happy that the Braves got another chance to win the game on a blown call. Outfielder Jayson Werth appeared to yell at Bucknor as the umpire walked off the field. Another member of the umpiring crew led Bucknor away to the dressing room.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was coy when asked about the final sequence.
“I really have no comment for that,” Freeman said, smiling. “I’m going to keep my mouth closed on that one. I think we all know the answer to that.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.