Jesus Flores had a pretty good view of the controversial play in the fourth inning tonight when home plate ump Alan Porter incorrectly called Matt Kemp safe at home.
When Ryan Zimmerman placed a tag on Adrian Gonzalez for the third out of the inning, Kemp was still a good distance away from Flores and home plate. And the Nationals’ catcher says he was blown away by what he saw as a “terrible call.”
“I didn’t know they were arguing about the play, because when I saw Zimmerman tagging Gonzalez, I knew that (Kemp) wasn’t even really close to the plate,” Flores said. “I was totally in shock because I didn’t know what was going on. And then I realized that was the argument at the plate. But for me, it was really a bad call.”
Making matters worse is that Flores said he heard Porter tell another umpire that he thought the bases were loaded on the play. That explains why Porter wasn’t watching the timing of the tag in relation to Kemp touching home plate.
“He thought it was the bases loaded, so he kind of didn’t pay attention,” Flores said. “That’s why I guess he went to the other umpires and talk about it.”
Zimmerman said he didn’t see the play at home, as he was lying on his back having just tagged out Gonzalez on an acrobatic play. But he heard teammates and coaches talking about the ruling in the dugout and was able to piece it all together.
“I guess somehow everyone else on the field (saw it), besides the person who had to make the play,” Zimmerman said. “At the time I guess you don’t think that’s a big play, but you can’t just give away runs in the big leagues.
“He was standing right behind home plate. He was in perfect position. Can’t fault him for that. I just, I don’t know if he was surprised that that play happened and he didn’t know he was going to have to make a decision or what happened, but he’s standing right there behind home plate with everything in front of him. At the time I don’t think anyone thought it was a really big deal but it turned out to be a big deal.”
Kemp, for what it’s worth, told reporters that he was aware he didn’t beat Zimmerman’s tag of Gonzalez.
“I don’t think I did,” he said. “We got lucky right there.”
Luck wasn’t working in John Lannan’s favor tonight, but even with it, he might not have fared all that well. The lefty starter says he was never able to get into a good rhythm and had trouble throwing his sinker for strikes.
“Just kicking myself right now,” Lannan said. “Just didn’t do my job.”
Tyler Clippard was equally down on himself. He says he’s made a living getting fastballs by hitters just below the letters, but the Nats’ closer didn’t do that tonight. Immediately after the Nationals came all the way back to tie the game 6-6, Kemp turned on a high 0-2 heater and belted it out to center for the game-winning homer.
“That hurt. It hurt tonight, big time,” Clippard said. “That was a huge momentum shift there in the bottom of the eighth for us. I think everybody in the ballpark, including myself, felt like we were going to win this game tonight. It’s even tougher to swallow knowing that I made the pitch I wanted to make and got hurt on it. What are you going to do?”