"I didn't think that there was any way possible that the ball could have been a homer." Adam Dunn, May 27, 2009.
THE RESULT: Another disputed home run call went against the Washington Nationals, and the New York Mets completed a three-game sweep, winning 7-4, before 40,171 replay-loving fans at new Citi Field.
The game was tied 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann walked Gary Sheffield on four pitches, which brought up first baseman Daniel Murphy. Murphy launched a 1-2 pitch to deep left field, and what really happened is still undecided.
As the play unfolded, right fielder Adam Dunn turned and watch it sail over his head, reacting much as if it were a sure home run. However, the ball landed on the warning track and bounced toward the fence. Dunn lumbered over, picked it up, and threw to cut-off man Ronnie Belliard, who fired to catcher Wil Nieves to nail Gary Sheffield at the plate for the first out of the inning.
Mets manager Jerry Manuel came out to argue and the umpires convened, then went into their locker room to review the play. As they did Monday night, they emerged, signalled a home run and awarded the Mets two runs on the play.
New York scored twice more in the seventh inning to seal the deal.
Zimmermann went five-plus innings, giving up five earned runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out eight, throwing 66 of his 100 pitches for strikes. He got six ground outs and no fly ball outs on the evening.
Adam Dunn launched his 16th home run of the season, a mammoth two-run shot off Mets winning pitcher Johan Santana (W, 7-2, 1.77 ERA), a blast estimated at 465 feet.
THE TAKEAWAY: There's absolutely NO WAY the replays showed enough evidence to overturn the way the play unfolded on the field. None of the replays shown on MASN or SNY showed conclusively that the ball hit the facing of the upper deck, which overhangs the warning track in right field.
What is clear from watching the play live and the replays is once the ball landed on the warning track, it bounced toward the outfield fence. The laws of physics would dictate that if the ball hit the facing of the upper deck, the ball would have travelled toward the infield after hitting the ground.
It was the same umpire that blew the call Monday that failed to hustle out to the outfield to see the play again.
THE GOOD: Adam Dunn. He seems to be in a groove again. Nick Johnson was 3-for-5.
THE BAD: It wasn't scored an error because he got an out on the play, but Ryan Zimmerman bobbled a tailor-made inning-ending double play ball in the third, regrouping just in time to get only the force at second base. The next batter (Murphy) poked a single to right, scoring the Mets' third run.
Also, Ronnie Belliard failed to cover first base on what was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt by Luis Castillo earlier in the inning.
Two plays, no errors scored on the plays. But more evidence of lousy and lackadaisical play on defense.
THE UGLY: Kip Wells. Seen enough of him yet? Two earned runs on a hit and a walk in two-thirds of an inning when the game was still in doubt.
NEXT GAME: Mercifully, off tonight. The Nats resume losing Friday night at 7:05 pm in Philadelphia against Phillies. Rookie Ross Detwiler (0-0, 2.45) will face J.A. Happ (2-0, 2.60).
Sigh and Cy: Bieber tagged, Bauer sharp in Dodgers debut