The Chicago Cubs were victims of their outfield’s surroundings yesterday after the ball bounced into the ivy-covered walls of Wrigley Field and brought into action a rule unique to the Cubs' home ground.
At the bottom of the third inning, Darwin Barney clipped Cincinnati Reds’ Alfredo Simon’s pitch into left field and the ball was planted into the ivy walls of the outfield.
The Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick chased after the ball but once the ball disappeared into the ivy he held up both his arms and signalled to the umpires that the ball was lost.
With the ball gone, Barney continued to round the bases and made it home before third-base umpire Trip Gibson called him back to second base.
According to the Wrigley Field ground rules listed in the Cubs’ media guide, if a ball gets stuck in the ivy vines on the outfield walls, the hit automatically becomes a double. Any ball which pops back out of the vines in still in play.
At the time the Cubs were 1-0 down and would have tied up the game. The Chicago outfit went on to lose the game 6-1 after a five-run demolition by the Reds in the ninth.
Chicago manager Rick Renteria did not challenge the call and although he did not admit it post-game, he may have already been aware of his home ground's unusual ruling.
Renteria did have a chat with home-plate umpire Dale Scott at the time of the incident but didn't take it any further.
Renteria might wish he had caused more of a fuss about the call after Barney was stranded at second for the rest of the inning.
Jeff Samardzija miscued a bunt and showed his frustration by breaking his bat over his leg.
Chris Coghlan and Justin Ruggiano both lofted their hits into centre field to leave Barney frustrated.
“If [Ryan Ludwick] doesn’t reach, I might pull up but he started to reach. He started but pulled up and I just kept running. The ball disappeared and never came out.”
The defeat leaves the Cubs (31-43) stuck at the bottom of the National League Central division, a whopping 14 games behind league leaders Milwaukee Brewers. The Reds (38-37) remained third in the same division, seven and a half games behind the leaders.
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