Umpire admits he lost track of count, allowed Mariners batter to walk on three balls

·2 min read

The Angels had a 55.4% chance of winning their game Monday against the Seattle Mariners with one out in the top of the ninth inning.

It was a 2-2 score in Los Angeles, but things went terribly wrong for the Angels after that.

Seattle’s Sam Haggerty was on first base when Carlos Santana stepped to the plate. Santana, who started the season with the Royals, is known for his keen eye, but this was ridiculous, as he drew a walk on just three balls.

It seems home-plate umpire Laz Diaz lost track of the count after Haggerty took second on an error by catcher Max Stasi and then stole third base.

Here is the pitch sequence to Santana:

Ball three was all Carlos Santana needed to walk.
Ball three was all Carlos Santana needed to walk.

The Orange County Register’s Jeff Fletcher talked with Diaz about the three-pitch walk. Apparently, Diaz thought it was a 2-2 count when Santana asked if was 3-1.

“I said, ‘No it’s 2-2,’” Diaz said. “Then I started thinking, maybe it is 3-1, because I forgot I called that first pitch a strike. There were so many pitches going on, I lost the count on that first pitch. I knew I called a strike on the steal, and that’s the only one I remembered. I couldn’t remember the one before that. … I messed that one up.”

The Angels took it from there. A first-and-third situation with one out is hardly dire, but the Mariners pushed four runs across thanks to some shoddy defense by the Angels. As you can see from this video, LA had a chance to get a big second out but no one covered home on a rundown.

Just an ugly ninth inning all the way around for the Angels, who lost 6-2.

“It was awful,” LA manager Phil Nevin told Fletcher. “We just made some bad decisions, throws. We didn’t execute a rundown. It wasn’t good.”