Adrian Beltre / Eduardo Nunez baseline play explained


Minneapolis – In 9th inning last night it appeared Adrian Beltre and the Texas Rangers were about to win their 4th game in a row.  Just when they thought that would happen, the defense fell apart.

The 9th inning started off pretty well for Joakim Soria.  He managed to get Trevor Plouffe to fly out to center.  Things started to look a little worrisome after Oswaldo Arcia doubled on a line drive.  For the most part, no one was probably worried.   Soria had managed to collected 8 saves and had yet to have a blown save.  But, things went south pretty quickly for Soria and the Twins managed to tie things up.

Next is a play that probably ended the night for the Rangers.  Twins Kurt Suzuki hit a grounder to Adrian Beltre and Eduardo Nunez when from second to third.  It looked like Beltre had a chance to tag Nunez, but he ran outside the baseline to avoid the tag.

First of all, what’s the rule for the play?

Looking at theMLB Official Rules Book: 7.00 The Runner

The couple of sections in rule 7.08 state the following:

"7.08Any runner is out when — (a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball.  A runner’s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely; or (2) after touching first base, he leaves the baseline, obviously abandoning his effort to touch the next base;(b) He intentionally interferes with a thrown ball; or hinders a fielder attempting to make a play on a batted ball;"

When searching for the rule, it didn’t take long to figure out that the runner was safe.  Reviewing the play Nunez does appear to run outside the baseline more than 3 feet, but it was to allow Beltre to field the ball.  Beltre at that time wasn’t attempting to tag Nunez, he was trying to catch it.  Only after he caught and realized where Nunez was when he reached to tag him.

After the game, crew chief Jerry Layne explained the on the field ruling.

"“That’s the key, to avoid being tagged,” Layne said. “(Nunez) has to yield (Beltre) a chance to field the ball. (Nunez) goes around (Beltre) in an attempt to allow him to field the ball. There was never an attempt to make a tag. If (Beltre) would have stuck his glove out to try to make an attempt, we have a different play.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, they attempt to make a tag. He never made an attempt.” (Star Tribune- La Velle E. Neal III)"

Take a look at the play and you decide.

It is a close judgement call, but it does appear to be safe.  Beltre should have thrown to first for the out.

Watch this classic Adrian Beltre moment.

Adrian Beltre probably knows a little bit about running outside the baseline.