In the bottom of the first inning, Gomez lined a ball that first bounced about 50 feet from home plate, skipped just inside the first-base bag and down the right-field line and — here's the key part — under the glove of outfielder Cody Ross(notes) and into the corner.
By the time Ross retrieved the ball in deep right, Gomez was about to round third at full speed, and was being waved home by coach Ed Sedar. Ross overshot the cutoff man and Gomez slid safely without a relay throw for an apparent inside-the-park homer.
However, the line of sight from the official scorer's seat inside the Miller Park pressbox to the spot on the field where Ross tried to field the ball was obscured by the grandstand. And most camera angles — at least ones used by the home TV broadcast — failed to show what had happened with Ross.
It was a heck of a way for the Brewers to kick off the scoring in a game they won 3-2. But what to call Gomez's play? A hit plus an error, or inside-the-parker?
Thanks to an angle being used by the visiting TV crew and MLB.tv, the official scorer was able to catch a glimpse of what happened when Ross came upon the ball. He called it a home run.
Ross was a stand-up guy about the play after game, taking full blame and trying to assign himself an error.
"I missed it. It should be an error, actually," Ross said. "It should not be an inside-the-park home run. I blew it, basically. It's not a home run for sure. It definitely shouldn't go against [Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez(notes)]. I went down to go get it and I whiffed. It got by me. Error. That's it. It shouldn't be a home run."
Inside-the-park homers are rare — perhaps 20 are hit every season — because they require an unusual set of circumstances that usually include an outfielder misplaying a ball without being charged with an error.
Official scorers are given a certain amount of freedom to act in judgment, but if the defender never actually touches the ball, an error rarely is given.
Even if the ball was played poorly, as Ross admitted it was.
Here's what Gomez was thinking as Ross approached the ball:
"The only thing I knew when I hit the ball is that right away I think, 'double,'" Gomez said. "I know Ross is a really good outfielder and makes really good throws to the base, so I had to be real aggressive."
Note the lack of foul-ball territory between the line and the stands. Ross probably didn't run as fast as he would have, if he had more room to stop before hitting the fence. That factors into the difficulty level, which factors into whether the official scorer calls an error.
It's hard to tell from this screen cap if Ross touches the ball, but judging by its speed as it rolled to the corner, he just barely nicked it, if at all. Back to Gomez:
"When I turned first, I heard the first-base coach [Garth Iorg] say, 'Go three!' "
That ball was really moving — as was Gomez. It was four bases at this point. Back to Carlos:
"Then I looked at Eddie [Sedar, the third-base coach] when I thought he would for sure stop me, and he kept sending me home.
"I said, 'All right.' I pushed everything I've got. I ran as hard as I can."
Though Ross and the Giants requested that official scorer Tim O'Driscoll change the call to include an error, most scorers probably would rule O'Driscoll's way most of the time.
And you wouldn't take away Gomez's first career inside-the-park home run, would you, Mr. Scorer?