• Right Center Field to Center Field:
- Ball wedges in chain link fence in front of out-of-town scoreboard: Two Bases.
- Ball strikes fence or scoreboard and goes over the lower center field fence without striking the ground: Home Run.
- Ball strikes fence or scoreboard and goes over higher portion of outfield fence without striking the ground: Two Bases.
- Ball strikes top of outfield fence or scoreboard and bounds into stands: Home Run.
- Ball strikes top of outfield fence or scoreboard and rebounds onto the playing field: In Play.
They came into play this afternoon in the top of the seventh inning when Adam LaRoche hit a first-pitch fastball from Cliff Lee to right field for a towering blast that at first appeared to be a two-run HR. It was a 4-0 game at the time with the Phillies ahead and Cliff Lee cruising, but the first runner of the inning, Jayson Werth reached first safely and took second on a throwing error to start the frame, then LaRoche stepped in and sent a long fly to right where Laynce Nix tracked it and made a leaping attempt as it sailed over the out of town scoreboard/right field wall... but it didn't clear the "outfield fence" atop the wall and as noted in the Ground Rules, was therefore not a home run.
LaRoche was in his HR trot between second and third when Phillies' center fielder John Mayberry threw it back in, and the Nats' first baseman was caught in a rundown between second and third and tagged out with Jayson Werth inexplicably still at third base having stopped for some reason and waited near the bag. LaRoche was out on an 8-4-2-6 put out and instead of a 4-2 game it remained 4-0, until Tyler Moore doubled Werth in during the next at bat. The play was reviewed afterwards, but it was pretty clearly not out.
... but not about the call by the umpires. "That's kind of a... you take nothing for granted in this game," the Nats' skipper said, "This is a game, you never take anything for granted. My two veteran players took it for granted that the ball was out. I asked [LaRoche], I said, 'Rochie, what are you thinking?' and he said, 'I was going for three.' I said, 'Well, you weren't going very fast.'"
"That's kind of a mental mistake," the Nats' manager continued, "Because you can always review. You never put yourself in a position with the ball still on the field and two veteran players messed that up." They made an assumption, Johnon explained, "Taking for granted that it was a home run, so they went into a trot. And you can't do that. You just can't do it."
"One of my rules," the 69-year-old Johnson said, "was that if you hit a hard ground ball to shortstop and you don't run down there you're taking it for granted that he's going to catch it and make a good throw and that's a losing attitude. Same way on that play there. If you assume when the ball hits up there like you think it's gone and the ball is still in play... that's a losing attitude."
Johnson said it didn't cost the team the ballgame, but Werth told reporters afterwards that he thought it might have:
Werth on assuming HR: "I obviously messed up the play, cost Rochie an easy RBI and potentially cost us a win."— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) August 26, 2012
The Nationals would end up losing the game 4-1. They were swept in three-straight in Citizens Bank Park and lost their fourth game overall to drop to 77-50 on the year. Next up a series in Miami with the Marlins which starts Tuesday night.