7/12/2014 10:01 P.M. ET
Overturned call at second goes Braves' way
By John Jackson / Special to MLB.com
CHICAGO -- In the bottom of the eighth of the Braves' 11-6 win over the Cubs on Saturday at Wrigley Field, an overturned call ended the inning and a potential Cubs rally.
With the Braves up by three runs and Chris Coghlan on first, Luis Valbuena grounded to second baseman Tommy La Stella, who tossed the ball to shortstop Andrelton Simmons to get the runner at second. Simmons then threw to first for the double play.
However, Coghlan was called safe at second. Simmons appeared to be close enough to the bag -- the so-called "neighborhood play" -- but second-base umpire Dan Bellino said he was off the base. Instead of the inning being over, Coghlan was at second with two outs.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez came out to argue, and after review, the safe call was overturned.
It's the second time in less than a week that the Braves were part of a replay that involved the neighborhood exception.
On Monday, with the Braves and Mets tied in the bottom of the ninth, New York's Juan Lagares bunted down the third-base line, hoping to move Eric Campbell to second. Braves third baseman Chris Johnson fielded the ball and threw to Simmons, covering second base, who stretched to receive the throw and quickly moved out of the way to try for a double play. Campbell was ruled out at second base, while Lagares beat the relay to first.
Mets manager Terry Collins successfully challenged the out call at second, arguing that Simmons didn't keep his foot on second as he caught the ball. Collins argued that the neighborhood play wasn't applicable, because Simmons took the throw more like a first baseman and wasn't trying to avoid a collision.
Gonzalez strongly disagreed with the final outcome, calling it "one of the worst calls I've ever seen."
"Good for [Collins], I don't blame him whatsoever," Gonzalez said. "He's trying to win. Whatever explanation he gave the umpires worked. I've learned so far that if you go to the headsets, you have no idea what is coming out of it. Good for Terry. I'm going to find out how he actually got them to do that."
Saturday's play was more a traditional turn at second base.
"I didn't go out there to question the neighborhood play; you can't review that," Gonzalez said. "Once he said, 'He's safe off the bag,' I'm thinking maybe he's on the bag and maybe we'll get the benefit of a doubt because it is a neighborhood play.
"But I didn't go in particularly to say it was a neighborhood play, because you can't challenge that."
John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.