On the first day of the 2021 MLB season, the baseball gods decided fans needed an update on the game’s obscure rules. How else can you describe what happened in the third inning of the Colorado Rockies-Los Angeles Dodgers game?
Here’s what it looked like initially: With Justin Turner on first base, Cody Bellinger drove a ball deep to the opposite field. Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia leaped to try and make the catch at the wall, but missed. The ball barely sailed over the fence for a two-run home run.
Except … that’s not at all what happened. Take a look for yourself and try to guess the actual ruling of the play.
If you had the sound on, the announcers might have given you a major hint. Turner believed Tapia caught the ball at the wall. As a result, Turner frantically ran back to first base to make sure he didn’t get doubled-up. While doing so, Turner passed Bellinger on the base paths. You can see the moment happen in the final seconds of the above video.
That’s not allowed under MLB rules.
OK, so what happened? Great question. Since he passed the lead runner on the base paths — even though it wasn’t his fault — Bellinger was called out. His two-run home run only counted for one run. In fact, due to Turner’s gaffe, Bellinger wasn’t even credited with a homer. He received a one-run single for his efforts. And it certainly helped under bettors.
It’s a bizarre rule, but, hey, that’s baseball.
Extremely rare rule takes home run away from Dodgers
While the Bellinger-Turner situation doesn’t happen often, it’s not the first time a player who hit a home run has only received a run-scoring single. The most famous example of that occurred in the 1999 NLCS. With the bases loaded during a 3-3 game in the bottom of the 15th inning, New York Mets infielder Robin Ventura hit a ball over the right-field fence for what should have been a game-winning grand slam.
It was eventually ruled a game-winning single after Ventura never reached home plate. He was passed on the bases during the team’s celebration.
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