In the eighth inning on Sunday, when Koda Glover's 96 mile per hour fastball sailed past Wilson Ramos' glove, Ramos heard a sound behind him and it was loud. That ball hit something and it wasn't the backstop. Ramos knows that sound. This was different.
He turned and saw home plate ump Mike Muchlinski on the ground. Muchlinski had fallen to his knees in pain, having taken a direct shot to his left shoulder.
"I knew it was a very hard thrown baseball. I heard the impact and it was very, very hard and loud," Ramos said through interpreter Octavio Martinez. "Based on the velocity of the ball, I knew it had impacted him pretty hard. The reaction I did was just to make sure the umpire was okay."
Ramos then realized the play was live, that the ball had ricocheted to the backstop, that Rockies shortstop Daniel Descalso had taken off from second and was on his way home.
"When I looked for the ball, I looked in the wrong direction because I didn't find it," Ramos said. "I turned around and couldn't find the baseball right away, so I felt a little lost in that sense."
Descalso would score on what was ruled a wild pitch. Muchlinksi remained behind home plate to call the rest of the game. But the Nats had allowed an insurance run that came in handy for the Rockies later on, especially after Bryce Harper hit a solo homer in the ninth to make it a 5-3 game.
"That would’ve been a one run game, a different story. The ball hit the umpire. Willie was concerned about the umpire. The batter kept running, Baker said. "I guess in essence you got to go get the ball then come back and see how he is. I’ve never seen that play before."
Technically, the play falls on Ramos, who should have tracked the ball to the backstop and retrieved it. He was the only one who had a chance at it. Glover was too far away, as was first baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
Glover, though, took ownership of the original mistake, the errant pitch.
"Me and Ramos got crossed up. I thought he put down a different pitch. it's on me, I squared the umpire up. Honestly, I don't know how that run's able to score. At most, I thought he'd be told to got to third. But that's just baseball," he said.
Given Baker - who has been in MLB for six decades - had never seen such a play, it's no surprise that Glover, a rookie, hadn't either.
They may never see it again. For Ramos, though, he'll have to keep it in mind moving forward and hope the result is different next time, if there is one.
"I honestly don't know what the umpires could have done in that situation," he said. "I really don't know what they could do in that situation. It's really hard."
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