Mike Aviles thought he should have been standing on third base with a RBI.
A little-known rule, however, converted Aviles' triple into a ground-rule double, and that one base proved to be the difference in the Royals' 3-2 loss Wednesday night to the Orioles.
With Kansas City trailing 3-1 in the eighth inning, Aviles hit a liner that rolled to the center field fence. Alcides Escobar, who had been on first base after a walk, appeared to score easily from first. However, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones held up his hands and did not touch the ball, which was lodged under the padding in center. After umpire Tim Welke checked the positioning of the ball, he made Aviles go back to second and Escobar to third.
"Sometimes you get breaks and sometimes you don't," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "That was a break we didn't get. Mike smoked it to the point it lodged underneath the fence. The ground rule says if a ball gets lodged and an outfielder throws his hands up, he is not required to go out and get it. The umpire goes out and checks and makes sure it's lodged, and it's a ground-rule double."
The next batter, Melky Cabrera, grounded out to second base, with Escobar scoring and Aviles taking third. However, the Orioles escaped with their lead intact when Alex Gordon flied out to end the inning.
Aviles said "without a doubt" he would have made it to third with Jones shaded to right field on his hit.
"I was actually in awe it got stuck," Aviles said. "I've been here since 2008, and I've never once seen a ball get stuck in the fence. I was planning on being on third base there with Escobar scoring. It's a whole different ballgame. The next play they'd have the infield come in, and I think the ball Melky (Cabrera) hits gets through and it's a tie ballgame."
Kauffman Stadium bit the Royals.
"It's not supposed to, but it got us tonight," Aviles said. "He could go out there and pick up the ball and we're sitting there with a run scored and a man on third. Him putting his hands up, it's a risky play. He's been around quite a bit. He knows if it's going to be a double or not. He looks at the ball and sees it's stuck, chances are the umpire is going to make the right call and call it a double."
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