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Matt Lawton’s Walk-Off 2/3B

Posted by Raphy on August 10, 2011

I ran across this puzzling play description today:

Inn Score Out RoB R/O Batter Play Description
b10 4-5 0 12- RR M. Lawton Triple to RF (Line Drive to Deep RF); Meares Scores; Nixon Scores; Lawton to 2B
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/10/2011.

So Lawton hit a walk-off triple and ended up on second base? Did he go back to second after touching third?
Lawton clearly received a triple for this play, as both this site and mlb.com have Lawton with 6 triples for 1998  and an event  finder list of his triples includes this one (mlb.com gamelogs only go back to 1999):

Cr# Yr# Gm# Date Tm Opp Pitcher Score Inn RoB Out Pit(cnt) RBI WPA RE24 LI Play Description
6 1 1 1998-05-08 MIN NYY Hideki Irabu tied 1-1 b6 --- 2 4 (0-2) 0 0.04 0.27 .70 Triple to 2B (Line Drive to Deep 2B)
7 2 1 1998-06-16 MIN @DET Tim Worrell ahead 3-7 t7 --- 2 6 (3-2) 0 0.01 0.27 .09 Triple to 1B (Ground Ball to 2B-1B)
8 3 1 1998-07-03 MIN DET Matt Anderson down 3-2 b8 -2- 1 3 (2-0) 1 0.36 1.26 3.42 Triple to RF (Ground Ball); Nixon Scores
9 4 1 1998-07-24 MIN TEX Esteban Loaiza down 1-0 b5 -2- 2 3 (1-1) 1 0.15 1.04 1.70 Triple to CF (Fly Ball); Meares Scores
10 5 1 1998-07-26 MIN TEX Scott Bailes ahead 2-6 b7 --- 0 5 (2-2) 0 0.01 0.92 .15 Triple to 2B (Ground Ball)
11 6 1 1998-09-01 MIN TBD Roberto Hernandez down 5-4 b10 12- 0 5 (0-2) 2 0.46 5.93 *ENDED GAME*:Triple to RF (Line Drive to Deep RF); Meares Scores; Nixon Scores; Lawton to 2B
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/10/2011.

The question here would be where was Lawton when Nixon scored the winning run. My assumption in this case is that the person scoring the play and the umpire or official scorer saw two different things and therefore recorded them differently. This discrepancy is even evident in the news reports of the time. The AP stories from September 2nd call Lawton's hit a double, while some of the other newspaper/online  stories call it a triple.

EDIT: I believe Charles in comment #18 has explained this play as well as the confusion surrounding it.

1998 was not that long ago and this was an memorable play. Does anybody have any recollection of this happening?

This is entered here to create a space in text. If you don't highlight it you don't have to read it.

Bonus Trivia: This game is unique among all games with play-by-play in the PI database. What makes this game special?

EDIT: Eorn in comment #3 has correctly answered the trivia question.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 at 4:57 pm and is filed under Event Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

35 Responses to “Matt Lawton’s Walk-Off 2/3B”

  1. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Detectives believe Germany Schaefer was involved.

  2. i don't recall the game, but according to the rulebook, to be rewarded with a triple lawton would have had to reach third before the winning run scored. considering that the runners had to wait to see if Butler caught the ball or not, it seems possible (although Otis Nixon was fast). maybe just an error in the play data?

  3. Trivia guess: The only game whose first and last play was a triple?

  4. @3 Eorns - You got it! That was quick. Nice job.
    @2 doff123 -I also thought about an error in the play data until I saw the AP article, then I thought it was something more.

  5. Only game where both starting pitchers had a game score of 53?

  6. Brilliant, eorns.

    Probably not unique, but still cool: all three men who tripled failed to score after their triple, and all in different ways. Winn was thrown out at home, Ledesma was stranded, and Lawton's hit ended the game.

  7. @5 Interesting idea, but not unique. 63 times since 1919.
    http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/JYPkk

  8. @6 I agree. Cool, but not unique.
    I don't know what the record is, but check out this game which featured 5 triples, all of which didn't score.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/DET/DET192105010.shtml

  9. The NY Times version of the roundup (presumably AP) describes the play as "double off the glove of right fielder Rich Butler." It is possible that the deflection contributed to the differing accounts. It is also very likely that the runners were not running full speed from contact.

  10. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Only game where the visitors' ninth-inning batters each had an inverse wWPA to the home team's ninth-inning batters?

    Yeah, it's a reach. (-;þ

  11. Not sure if this is unique, but looking at the box score apparently the game was limited to family and friend of the players - 7K attendance.

  12. In the newspaper with the article that describes it as a double, if you look around, you'll see the game stats listing it as a triple. He must have reached third before the runner reached home. The scorer had to send him back to second as MLB rules require, but perhaps official scorers, in practice, won't downgrade a game winning hit. He ought to be entitled to all the bases he can get until the run scores.

  13. @12 - If he reached third before the runner reached home , why would he have to go back to second?

  14. 10.06(f) Subject to the provisions of Rule 10.06(g), when a batter ends a game with a safe hit that drives in as many runs as are necessary to put his team in the lead, the official scorer shall credit such batter with only as many bases on his hit as are advanced by the runner who scores the winning run, and then only if the batter runs out his hit for as many bases as are advanced by the runner who scores the winning run.

    It sounds like from 10.06(f) the scorer should have give Lawton a double. Maybe the scorer saw that he reached 3rd before the run scored and gave him the triple.

    10.06(g) says that with an automatic HR all runs are counted.

  15. Forget everything I said. I thought there were runners on 2nd and third. He was entitled to a triple if he got that far before the winning run scored. The scorer gave him a triple. I have no explanation for the "Lawton to 2B" comment.

  16. @3
    Eorns, are your neurotransmitters geneticaly modified for baseball? :-)

    Take a bow. I never would have got it.

    Raphy, is one credited with a triple if you touch third base, even if there's another runner there and you have to retrace your steps?

    Thank you for a very interesting play. There must be a definitive answer.

    But official scorers are always presented with difficult calls, requiring interpretation.

  17. The winning run came from 1st (advanced 3 bases)....so according to that rule Lawton should have been awarded a triple, but only if he ran "out his hit for as many bases as are advanced by the runner who scores the winning run." If Lawton only did make it to second I could see how there may have been some confusion regarding the rule. He may have been credited with a triple by one source based on the first part (the runner from first advancing 3 bases) and a double by another source because he only made it to second by the time the winning run scored (which, based on the rule, would be the correct scoring).

  18. If you go to the play-by-play and click on the 12 in the runners on base column, you'll see a box pop up indicating the scorer's notes for the outcome, I guess. It says T9/L9D which means line drive triple to right field. It says 2-H 1-H B-2 which looks like runners from first and 2nd score batter gets to 2nd. Normally they would not put a note there for B, because the T would have indicated he made it to third

    There's also a provision of the rule for game winning hits that would allow the scorer to credit a batter for the next base even if he doesn't quite reach it.

    The official scorer shall credit the batter with a base touched in the natural course of play, even if the winning run has scored moments before on the same play. For example, the score is tied in the bottom of the ninth inning with a runner on second base and the batter hits a ball to the outfield that falls for a base hit. The runner scores after the batter has touched first base and continued on to second base but shortly before the batter-runner reaches second base. If the batter-runner reaches second base, the official scorer shall credit the batter with a two-base hit.

    Maybe the B-2 comment means he had a double when the run was scored, but the scorer gave him the 3B because he was on the way there as opposed to leaving out the B-2 if he got to third first.

    The translation of the notes was accurate in setting up the play by play record "Lawton to 2B"

  19. @18 YES!
    Charles, I think you have it!

    If anyone is interested Charles is quoting the rule 10.06(f) Comment.
    You can find the mlb rule book here:
    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2011/Official_Baseball_Rules.pdf

  20. Assuming that Charles is correct, the next challenge would be to find other instances of this occurring.

  21. No other walk-off doubles or triples in the play-index have a similar format as the Lawton play.
    Oh well.

  22. John Autin Says:

    Intriguing mystery, Raphy, and a nice piece of sleuthing by Charles!

  23. The scorers are just as bad as the umpires which plague the game. In fact, although umpires at least get boos, scorers get no bad effects for whatever they do!

    Who can forget that Mets walk-off homerun, which was turned into a single by a scorer who thought he could write whatever he felt like on the score book?

    Umpires and scorers belong to the 19th century, and should stay there rather than make more damage to baseball.

    Somebody said this is a game and not a life and death. Sorry (just like Joyce's halfhearted 'apology' which supposely cured everything according to umpire worshippers), but nobody actually cares who lived and died in the game after 20 years.

    The only thing which will remain is whatever is on the scorebook, and those who mess it up should be taken out of baseball forever, like Joe Jackson and Pete Rose.

  24. Take a look at the pitch count. 203 pitches and 47 batters faced by the winning team. 127 pitches 38 batters faced by the losing team. The losing team gets 7 XBH's to Lawton's triple.

  25. Wow, rookie Brett Lawrie went 2 for 4 with a double and a grand slam. And no white-T-shirted mystery man in the outfield tipping signs. What a crock!

    It's still too early to say this 21-year-old is the real deal, but his initial ML line is 0.389/0.389/0.788 after five games!

    ESPN's update stats are saying 0.318/0.348/0.636 for Johnny Giatovella after tonight. An impressive pair of rookies, in their ML debuts.

  26. @23 - you don't just get the run when the ball goes over the fence, you have to actually touch the bases. Seems like that's the most basic tenet of the game...

    Not related: Check out Nyjer Morgan's game logs from 2009. It took me a bit to figure it out, but he played in a game that was suspended for the nationals that goes in 'the books' as him having played for the team about two months before actually being traded to them. Also, he did the old Joel Youngblood, playing for two teams in one day routine.

  27. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Cabriael, I'm disappointed we didn't get your take on the two recent official scoring controversy threads.

  28. "Basic Tenet" is just an apologetic from people like Joe Torre, who decided to become Bud Selig's (and the umpires') lapdog in his advanced age and ruin his reputation beyond salvation.

    It is something which HDTV - and Xbox- traned younger generations won't understand or accept.

    I still can't understand those who defend bad calls and records of umpires and scorers. Perhaps they don't want see 300+ more people join the ranks of unemployed; in fact these people only know how to do an outdated job, and are good for little else in the real world.

    But such is progress. Those who accept progress muddle along, but people who refuse to adapt , like arrogant umpires, scorers and their hard-assed supporters, just get left behind and whine to high heaven.

  29. Max Flack and Cliff Heathcote played for both teams in a doubleheader, having been traded for each other between games by the Cubs and Cardinals on May 30, 1922. Back in 1979, between games of a doubleheader between the Mets and Cards, Jose Cardenal was traded to the Mets from the Cards but he asked not to play in the second game.

  30. @25, Neil L. -- And yet, both those rookie AL 2Bs were upstaged by another one tonight. (See recent post.)

  31. @29, baseball is entertainment so its most basic point is to be entertaining. If you care more about the box score the next day than actually watching the game you are the one acting like you're from the 19th century. Have you watched a college football game recently, they are terrible to watch with constant stopages for obvious plays and basically every scoring play. Everyone who thinks replay can be handled in like 10 seconds has no idea how the real world works. If someone is going to be held responsible for the correct call they are going to sit there and look at it 100 times to be 100% sure, and if youve ever watched a baseball game you would know there are many times when you cant tell what the right call even is.

    I mean do you think there was no luck at all involved in any perfect game, no lucky lines drives hit right at someone? Like Armando Galarraga is the only guy whoever lost a perfect game due to bad luck? Please. It happens all the time. 2001 the Dbacks win the WS on a pitch that completely handcuffed Luis Gonzalez and he hit the ball about as poorly as a hitter can, yet they win the WS. The pitch did exactly what Mariano Rivera wanted and the swing was the exact opposite of what Gonzalez wanted.

    Something almost all sports fans fail to understand is that you cant take luck out of sports, if you want that watch track. The luckiest team always wins, sometimes its your team and it is great, and sometimes its not. How many game winning hits have come from lazy seeing eye singles through the infield on broken bats that the batter hit with 1 hand on the bat. It happens all the time, just like bad calls. If you cant deal with the fact that luck is a huge factor in all sports then you will never be satisfied, so please learn to deal with this and take all your short sighted replay talk to football which is becoming more and more commercial filled and boring.

  32. Horrendous mistake, ignoring obvious play, ejecting players and managers on their whim do not qualify as 'luck' in my book.

    It is 'deliberate manipulation', especially since the bad calls almost always go against no-name players or weaker teams.

    Football has entered the 21st century, whether some people like it or not. Baseball stll wants to stay in the previous century, but Bud Selig can't live forever.

    Players hitting something or not is part of 'luck' which I can accept,

    but I can't tolerate someone who is not part of the game, like umpires and scorers who shouldn't intervene, influence the game in negative ways.

  33. Official scorers do not have an affect (effect?) on the play on the field. David Ortiz's single scored 2 runs the other night. whether the official scorer gave him one RBI or two, it didnt change the course of the game.

    Your argument should stay solely on the umpires.

  34. Ah, I remember the good old days of the 1998 Twins, when Matt Lawton led the team with 21 home runs! Ugh, what a crummy team. Wow, LaTroy Hawkins was our number 2 starter! But the seeds were being planted for the eventual resurgence of the Twins.

  35. Cabriael is off his meds yet again.