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Sports

May 11, 2014

Touchy subject: Hit or error when easy ball drops?

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — A strange play during Yu Darvish’s bid for a perfect game has started a debate around the majors on a most touchy subject.

As in, should it be a hit or an error when an easy flyball or popup falls between fielders and no one touches it?

For years, plays like that have routinely been ruled hits by the official scorer. Batters have always liked that stance; pitchers, not so much.

“Typically, 10 out of 10, that’s a base hit,” Boston manager John Farrell said.

On Friday night in Texas, Darvish set down the first 20 Red Sox batters before David Ortiz lifted a high flyball to right field with two outs in the seventh inning.

Veteran outfielder Alex Rios and 20-year-old second baseman Rougned Odor, playing his second major league game, both were in position to catch it. Instead, Rios suddenly slowed and Odor made a late lunge — they let the ball fall to the ground without touching it.

Steve Weller, in his 20th season as an official scorer in Texas, charged Rios with an error, and Darvish’s no-hit bid was intact.

“It’s one of the very rare, very rare times that you see a ball never touched by someone that’s ruled an error,” Farrell said.

Ortiz ended the no-hit drama with two outs in the ninth inning, grounding a clean single through the right side of Texas’ overshifted infield for Boston’s only hit.

All the postgame talk, however, was about the ball that got away.

Ortiz indicated Saturday that he was planning to appeal the scoring decision, even though he has acknowledged his fly in the seventh should have been caught.

“But when it comes down to the rules in the game, that’s a hit,” Ortiz said after Friday night’s game. “That’s the rule that we all know, and that’s the rule that the game have for more than a hundred years.”

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