Martinez uses photo evidence to demand baseline rule fix


HOUSTON (AP) — Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez is demanding that Major League Baseball change its basepath rule after catcher Keibert Ruiz’s ninth-inning throw hit runner Jake Meyers, resulting in a throwing error that gave the Houston Astros a 5-4 win Wednesday night.

Martinez printed out a photo of Meyers running on the grass inside the first-base line after hitting a grounder and brought it to his postgame press conference.

“There it is right there,” Martinez said. “Take a look at it. Is that on the line? I don’t think so. I’m over this play. Seriously. They need to fix the rule. If this is what the umpire sees that he’s running down the line, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of it. Fix it. We lost the game, and he had nothing to say about it because he can’t make the right call. Brutal.”

Martinez was ejected from Game 6 of the 2019 World Series in Houston for arguing after the Nationals’ Trea Turner was called out on a similar play.

MLB rules state that “when running the last half of the way to first base while the ball is being fielded in the vicinity of first, a baserunner must stay within the three-foot runner’s lane to the right of the foul line unless they are avoiding a player fielding a batted ball.”

Kyle Tucker led off the inning with a single off Hunter Harvey (2-3), and Jose Abreu followed with an infield single. Yainer Diaz struck out before Corey Julks walked to load the bases to set up Meyers’ grounder to short.

C.J. Abrams threw home to get the second out, but Ruiz’s throw to first went off Meyers’ helmet and allowed Abreu to score.

The Nationals argued the final play with the umpires, and Martinez said he was not given an explanation except that home plate umpire Jeremy Riggs saw Meyers run down the line.

“I think they were disputing whether he was in the baseline or not,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “That’s always a questionable call. Nobody really has the vantage point very good except really the home plate umpire, and he said it was nothing.”

Meyers said he ran up the line and collided with first baseman Michael Chavis’ glove, adding that he was touching the base.

“I think that kind of sent the ball elsewhere,” Meyers said. “I’m not really sure, but I know we scored, and we won. That’s good.”

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