Philadelphia Phillies rookie Nick Pivetta pitched perhaps the most memorable game of his young career on Monday night.
Though he’s put up better statistical performances than his six-inning, two-run outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he bested probably the best pitcher alive in Clayton Kershaw en route to his sixth career victory, silencing the bats of the playoff-bound NL West squad.
But the 18th and final out recorded by Pivetta shouldn’t have counted.
His night ended on a line drive from catcher Austin Barnes, who smashed an offer right back at Pivetta.
The ball got lodged inside of the jersey of the 24-year-old, who, with the third out called, tossed the ball onto the mound as he made his exit.
But had the umpires, who are presumably paid to know baseball’s rules, known baseball’s rules, the play would not have ended there.
Just ask 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson, who said as much in a reply to the league, who shared the play on Instagram.
The Toronto Blue Jays star then cited the rule to which he was referring in his own Instagram post.
All four umps on hand—Brian O’Nora, Paul Emmel, Chad Whitson, and Scott Barry—apparently missed that day of umpiring school.
A player isn’t allowed to use any part of his uniform, particularly his jersey or cap, to catch a ball.
According to the rule book, the umps should have treated the play as a live ball; Pivetta had to throw the ball to first to get the out.
Thankfully he didn’t intentionally use his uniform, as Barnes would have landed on third base, according to rule 5.06:
Each runner including the batter-runner may, without liability to be put out, advance: … (B) Three bases, if a fielder deliberately touches a fair ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play and the batter may advance to home base at his peril; (C) Three bases, if a fielder deliberately throws his glove at and touches a fair ball. The ball is in play and the batter may advance to home base at his peril; (D) Two bases, if a fielder deliberately touches a thrown ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play; (E) Two bases, if a fielder deliberately throws his glove at and touches a thrown ball.
Or at least he would have had the umps actually known the rules.