The Associated Press
Yu Darvish’s recent no-hit bid now officially ended in the seventh inning, not the ninth.
Major League Baseball overturned a disputed scoring decision from Friday night’s game between the Texas Rangers and Red Sox. Acting on an appeal by Boston slugger David Ortiz, MLB changed an error in the seventh to a single on a high fly that dropped untouched between fielders.
Ortiz said Wednesday that he wouldn’t have appealed the play if it had been a no-hitter. Darvish had a perfect-game bid going until the ruling that attracted attention all across the majors.
With Darvish’s no-hit bid intact, Ortiz grounded a two-out single in the ninth inning.
“I complain about (it) because it was going to be a second hit, but that was going to be the only hit of the game, I wouldn’t bring it up,” Ortiz said.
The pitcher wasn’t concerned about the change.
“We won that game,” Darvish said through a translator. “Whether it was a one-hitter or two-hitter, we won the game. That’s something that happened in the past. The only thing I care about is the win.”
MLB confirmed the scoring change Wednesday. But, as is routine on the numerous scoring appeals each week, the league didn’t provide an explanation for the reversal.
Veteran outfielder Alex Rios and 20-year-old second baseman Rougned Odor, playing his second major league game, both were in position to catch the popup in the seventh. Instead, Rios suddenly slowed and Odor made a late lunge. The ball fell to the ground untouched between them.
“Of course it was an error,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “It’s an error. It’s an out. It’s not a ball that somebody (dived) for and missed. That’s an out. It was misplayed so it’s an out.”
Ortiz obviously felt differently about the decision.
“It’s a play that everybody knows once they saw it,” he said. “The whole controversy started when they figured he was about to pitch a no-hitter. It’s not the first time we’ve seen that play.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell sided with his player.
“I thought it was a hit in the moment and upon further review obviously they change it, so in the end I think the right call has been made,” he said.
Official scorer Steve Weller, in his 20th season working MLB games, charged Rios with an error. While that ended a perfect game, Darvish’s no-hit bid was still intact.
Weller made a judgment call that Rios, with normal effort, could have made a routine catch.
“I don’t think there’s a lot of argument about that,” Weller told a pool reporter after the game.
Even Ortiz acknowledged that the ball should have been caught. Rios also didn’t dispute the error.
Weller watched numerous replays and conferred with Elias Sports Bureau, the sport’s longtime record-keeper. He cited MLB rules that a ball doesn’t have to be touched to be an error. If a fly ball drops to the ground, the official scorer can charge an error if, in his judgment, the outfielder “making ordinary effort would have caught” it.
Once Ortiz got the single in the ninth, the slugger decided to appeal the play in the seventh.
Darvish, who had his scheduled start on Wednesday pushed back to Friday, even joked about the incident.
“If that error, or the error that became a hit in the seventh inning, if that would have been decided a hit during the game I would probably have to pitch today,” he said. “So it would probably help my career not to throw that many pitches if it had been decided during the game.”
He then jokingly thanked Big Papi.
“I wanted to appreciate Ortiz,” he said with a laugh.
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