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Saturday, June 15, 2013
Notebook: Chaos in the ninth

By Matt Ehalt

NEW YORK -- The teams believed it was an out. The umpires ruled differently.

And thus began a bizarre sequence of baserunning and out-collecting.

Confusion over a low line drive in the ninth inning Saturday led to an unusual chain of events in the Cubs' 5-2 win at Citi Field. Both teams initially acted like an out had been made, only to find the umpire ruled the ball wasn't caught cleanly, leading to a mad dash by the Mets to collect as many outs as possible.

"It was weird," Mets infielder Justin Turner said. "One of the weirdest plays I've ever been a part of."

With the bases loaded and no outs, Chicago's Darwin Barney hit a liner to center. Mets center fielder Juan Lagares said he caught it cleanly, and TV replays indicated the same. First-base umpire Lance Barrett, however, ruled it hit the ground, although that wasn't immediately clear on the field.

"I don't think anyone on the field knew he called it no catch," Turner said.

Lagares threw the ball in, attempting to go to the plate in case Chicago was looking to score on a sacrifice fly, but it went to Turner at second base. Turner, who was hoping to double off Ryan Sweeney at second, unintentionally got a force out at second, meaning the runner on first, Nate Schierholtz, was out.

With that force, it meant the runners at second and third didn't have to advance, and both stayed on their base while the Mets tried to sort out whether their were more outs to be made. The Mets threw home and went to third base in hope of a triple play, but they eliminated that option when they went to second for the force. A triple play could have happened by going to home first.

Chicago ultimately did not score in the frame, making the play a hassle that had little bearing on the game aside from making for a unique and memorable moment.

DUDA BUNT: Trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Lucas Duda attempted a bunt, but it resulted in an easy putout. Mets manager Terry Collins did not have a problem with Duda's attempt.

"Because it failed, because he didn't get it down the way he wanted to, it looks bad," Collins said. "But we're not exactly hitting the ball over the ballpark. Lucas is trying to get on and get something started. I understand completely. He didn't make a good bunt."

ERROR BY VALDESPIN: Second baseman Jordany Valdespin committed an error in the first inning when he attempted to throw the ball back to pitcher Jon Niese, only to send the ball over his pitcher's head. Chicago's Cody Ransom moved to second on the throw, although he didn't end up scoring.

"That's part of our game where every day you see something you haven't seen before," Collins said. "I haven't seen that."

Valdespin said he thought he had called time and the ball slipped out of his hand.