- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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Josh Thole said the Mets had one major regret during Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the Washington Nationals: allowing Jerry Hairston to score from third base in the fifth inning on a bunt by Livan Hernandez.
New York Mets
“If there’s one play I think we’d like to have back, it would definitely be that one,” Thole said.
Thole was slowed up just enough by Hernandez making his way out of the box that he could not retrieve the ball and return to the plate in time to successfully apply a tag on Hairston.
Thole quizzed plate umpire Brian Runge afterward about the rule regarding Hernandez’s obstruction. Runge told Thole that it needs to be discernible that the bunter slowed up.
“He delayed my path to the ball a little bit,” Thole said. “But I actually spoke to the home plate umpire about it. He said he didn’t see him slow up. I guess typically the rule is that if [the bunter is] going to try to cause the play go a different way, then that would be the issue. But [Runge] didn’t think there was any issue. I thought we had a chance at the plate. I went ahead and took it. … I probably should have just taken the out [at first base] more than anything. As far as getting the ball, there’s nothing more I could have done.”
Meanwhile, Hernandez pretty much admitted afterward that he purposely was slow out of the box to slow up Thole’s pursuit of the baseball. That’s no surprise given Hernandez’s savvy. Earlier in the game, Hernandez tried to pretend he wasn’t paying attention to Jose Reyes at third base after a play at first, hoping to lull his former teammate into a trap.
"I do that play before,” Hernandez said about slowing up out of the box on a bunt. “This is the way I do it. When the bunt doesn't go too far, I've got to wait so the catcher can't go and catch the ball faster and throw the people out more easy, or make the out at home plate. I do it last year too, I don't know if you remember it, but I do it last year and it happened perfect."
Thole, at least, is feeling better at the plate. He went 3-for-4 Thursday. In his other start in the series, he had a career-high three RBIs.
“I feel like I’m getting there,” Thole said.