PHOENIX – Curt Casali knelt behind home plate with his mouth open. In the dugout, Buster Posey could barely hide a grimace as he covered his face with his left hand.
The disbelief exhibited by the Giants ‘catching tandem embodied the bizarre nature of the game that unfolded in the lower part of the second inning of the Giants’ 3-1 loss to the D-Backs at Chase Field on Tuesday night.
After the D-Backs put the runners in first and second place with an out, Asdrúbal Cabrera stepped onto the plate to face right-handed Johnny Cueto. Cabrera switched in the dirt that Casali was blocking on the first pitch, but Casali then took off his catcher mask and used it to stop the ball, which is illegal. Home plate referee Chris Guccione called Casali about a mistake, with both runners moving 90 feet up due to the mistake.
The official scorer called the mistake a “catcher’s balk”, but Casali technically violated Major League Baseball Rule 5.06 (b) (3) (E), which allows runners to move a base if “an outfield player intentionally hits one The pitched ball with his “touches a cap, mask or part of his uniform that has left its right place on his person. The ball is in play and the knockdown is made from the position of the runner at the time of contact with the ball. “
“It was definitely a strange game,” said Casali. “I can’t quite say I’ve done this before. It was definitely unintentional. It was just one of those pieces that I usually put down my mask and it just flew behind me, but for some reason it just stuck and fell. I didn’t watch the replay, but I’m assuming it looked pretty obvious. It was definitely unintentional. Stupid game on my part. That shouldn’t happen in a big league game. It stinks.”
Casali and manager Gabe Kapler tried to represent their case, but the verdict was upheld after the referees briefed on the field. Cabrera took advantage of the mistake two pitches later and lined a double-to-right field with two runs to extend the lead of the D defenders to 3-0. Suspended equipment faults are rare, although Red Sox catcher Christian Vázquez also broke the same rule during a game against the Royals in 2018.
“It is unfortunate that it happened,” said Casali. “[The runners] wound up, and it probably took at least one run. In the end there were two. I’ll own that and just move on. “
Casali rehabilitated by starting a home run in the fifth solo, but the rest of the Giants hitters were hampered by old friend Madison Bumgarner, who threw seven innings of a one-run ball even for that four-game series. The Giants fell to 67-40 that season, despite retaining a 3 1/2 game lead in the National League West after the Dodgers’ loss to the Astros on Tuesday.
“I thought he hit his points well,” Kapler said of Bumgarner. “He was very aggressive. He threw a lot of punches and I think that’s important for our line-up. We’re pretty good at fouling fields and getting to a field that we can handle. He just kept pitching, and he was able to get through our line-up several times and get into this game pretty deeply. “
The Giants stacked their line-up with right-handed thugs – midfielder Steven Duggar was the only left-handed to get off to a start – but they were sustained on seven hits, despite providing tough contact against Bumgarner.
After Donovan Solano drilled in the fourth one-out double, Thairo Estrada had a 99.3 mph liner blown to the left, but shortstop Nick Ahmed jumped to catch the ball and then threw at the second baseman Josh VanMeter to complete an inning. End double play.
Austin Slater followed Casali’s 408-foot blast with a two-out double that bounced off the right wall of the field in game five, but Kole Calhoun sped into foul territory and put down an amazing catch on a torch in front of the bat Kris Bryant. close .
Cueto was charged with the loss after giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits over five innings while walking four and striking seven. Aaron Sanchez delivered three scoreless innings from the bullpen to keep the Giants within striking distance, but the D-Backs got relief from rookie Tyler Gilbert, who made his Major League debut, and Tyler Clippard, who only got their second win in Jan. won games against the Giants this year.
“I don’t think we did our best, but they did a really good job,” said Kapler. “You also played a very good defense. We hit a couple of balls on the button. They did all the pieces. I would love to try this game again, but it’s not in the cards. We’re getting ready for tomorrow. “