Cleveland Indians outfielder David Murphy was tagged out at third base after being confused by a second baseball that was thrown onto the field from the Cincinnati Reds bullpen during Tuesday night's game at Progressive Field.
It happened in the bottom of the seventh as the Indians had Murphy at first and another runner at third with no outs. Yan Gomes hit a double to the right field corner, knocking in the runner at third and allowing Murphy to advance to third. While the live ball was being thrown back to the infield, another baseball was thrown over the glove of the Reds bullpen catcher and onto the field, resulting in both baseballs reaching second baseman Kris Negron at nearly the same time. Negron caught the live ball while allowing the other one to dribble along the ground.
Murphy saw the ball "getting away" from Negron and started running home, not realizing Negron had thrown the live baseball into second base. As a result, Murphy found himself scrambling back to third and being tagged out.
It's hard to believe that none of the umpires saw the second baseball on the field during the play. You would think that even after Murphy was tagged out by the live ball, someone would have pointed out the second baseball on the field, if only for safety reasons. Obviously the Reds weren't going to say anything since they were getting the benefit of the call. Maybe Murphy could have done more to make his case and the Indians could have pushed for instant replay. Of course, if you didn't see it yourself, it might be hard to believe a story about a "second baseball".
At the very least, the Indians need to raise the fence in the visitors' bullpen to prevent this from happening again.
Video via MLB.