For the Los Angeles Dodgers, there was a massive difference in impact between Yasiel Puig missing out on a foul ball in a scoreless inning and Dylan Floro balking the Mariners home for a 10th-inning walk-off win. However, the wake of both incidents held the same shape: instant realization of what just happened and instant exasperation of a missed chance in a tight division race.
That first missed chance came in the fifth inning of the Dodgers’ game against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, when Mitch Haniger sliced a ball foul that Puig chased to the edge of the Safeco Field stands. Puig spotted up against a wall and prepared to attempt a highlight-reel catch, but his glove never reached the ball as a fan got in the way.
Puig wasted no time in furiously spiking his glove on the ground and walking away. The most bitter pill to swallow: it was a Dodger fan who got in the way The Dodgers challenged for fan interference, but the call on the field was upheld and Haniger eventually walked.
To be fair, spiking a glove isn’t the biggest outburst Puig has had this week, as the right-fielder is still appealing a two-game suspension he received for sparking a brawl by shoving Giants catcher Nick Hundley.
The Dodgers would later mount a three-run comeback to send the game in extras, highlighted by a ninth-inning solo shot from Max Muncy to tie the game against MLB saves leader Edwin Diaz. It was a chance for a thrilling and important win for Los Angeles, but then the 10th inning happened.
The Mariners quickly threatened when two of their first three batters reached base on an infield single against Dodgers southpaw Caleb Ferguson. Dylan Floro came in to relieve Ferguson, but he soon set up a walk-off win for Seattle by walking Nelson Cruz to load the bases for Kyle Seager.
That win didn’t come in the form of a homer or a hit or even a walk-off walk. It came from a balk, and the game was over before Cameron Maybin crossed home plate. It was just the 22nd time in MLB history a game ended in such fashion.
IT'S A BALK OFF, FOLKS!
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) August 19, 2018
Again, the Dodgers disputed the ump’s call on the field, this time in the form of Dave Roberts running onto the field and demanding an explanation. The umps held firm, the game was over, the Mariners had won 5-4. The loss moved the Dodgers to two games back in a tight NL West race and 3-7 in their last 10 games.
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