Blocking the plate call on review helps Nats top Padres 4-3

Aug 13, 2022, 7:44 AM | Updated: 9:03 pm

San Diego Padres' Ha-Seong Kim follows through on a ground rule double during the second inning of ...

San Diego Padres' Ha-Seong Kim follows through on a ground rule double during the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

(AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)


              San Diego Padres' Ha-Seong Kim follows through on a ground rule double during the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
            
              Washington Nationals' Victor Robles follows through on an RBI single during the seventh inning of the team's baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Saturday, Aug.13, 2022, in Washington. César Hernández was called out at home plate but a video review showed that catcher Austin Nola blocked the plate and the run counted. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
            
              Washington Nationals' Nelson Cruz center, gestures from first base after his 2000th career hit during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
            
              Washington Nationals' César Hernández (1) slides into home plate on a hit by single by Victor Robles as San Diego Padres catcher Austin Nola, front left, attempts a tag during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Washington. A replay review showed that Nola blocked the plate and the score counted. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
            
              Washington Nationals starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez throws to a San Diego Padres batter during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug.13, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
            
              San Diego Padres starting pitcher Yu Darvish delivers the ball to a Washington Nationals batter during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Aug.13, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
            
              San Diego Padres' Ha-Seong Kim follows through on a ground rule double during the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Saturday, Aug.13, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
            
              San Diego Padres' Juan Soto, left, celebrates with Manny Machado after the team's baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, in Washington. The Padres won 10-5. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON (AP) — San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin was sure his catcher, Austin Nola, was not guilty of blocking the plate. So sure that the skipper immediately got ejected after Nola was called for that transgression on a replay review, allowing the Washington Nationals to score the go-ahead run.

Nola was not worried the apparent out — it was ruled that way in real time — would get changed.

“I had no concern,” Nola said.

So cue the questions and dial up the debate over what constitutes preventing a runner from reaching home — Melvin said it was the subject of a recent memo from Major League Baseball — after the wild-card-chasing Padres and new slugger Juan Soto repeatedly failed to come through in the clutch against his former club and lost to the Washington Nationals 4-3 Saturday night.

“If that’s an out, we’re still in the game,” Melvin said, arms crossed, afterward.

“I thought it was a good play. My understanding is: If you’re straddling the plate or giving him any part of the plate to slide to, it is not blocking the plate.”

Playing their second game since learning of Fernando Tatis’ steroid suspension, the Padres built a 3-0 edge thanks to solo homers from Manny Machado and Trent Grisham and a run-scoring single from Soto, who was traded by Washington on Aug. 2.

But San Diego’s offense stalled: The club finished 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base.

“We had opportunities, for sure,” said Nola, who went 1 for 3. “We’ve just got to capitalize on our opportunities.”

Yu Darvish (10-6), charged with four runs in six-plus innings, gave away the lead on back-to-back deep balls off the bats of Yadiel Hernandez and Joey Meneses in the sixth. Meneses, a 30-year-old who made his big league debut on Aug. 2, now has five homers in nine games.

Then, with Luis García on in relief after Darvish gave up a single, Victor Robles, who came into the day batting just .229, smacked a single to right, where his good pal Soto plays. César Hernández — who had three hits and a stolen base for the night — raced home from second base.

Soto’s throw reached the plate just as Hernández did — and after Nola tagged him with one foot on home, the runner was called out. Washington manager Dave Martinez challenged, and the appeal succeeded, meaning the run counted and the Nationals snapped the 3-all tie.

Martinez said he thought “right away” that Nola “blocked the plate, for sure.”

Nola’s take?

“I just felt like when I caught the ball, I stepped back just in case I was in front of the lane. That’s all I know that I did. It’s just the step-back happened to be on the plate,” he said. “I thought I did everything the way we practice: Step back, give him a lane, not throw the knee in front.”

Melvin argued with crew chief Paul Emmel, even walking over to step on the plate while making his point. That came hours after Melvin reached out to Tatis for a phone conversation. On Thursday, the All-Star shortstop was banned for 80 games — meaning he is gone for the rest of 2022 and the start of 2023 — after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

CRUZ CONTROL

Nationals DH Nelson Cruz had two singles to raise his career hit total to 2,000.

“To do it as long as he’s done it, it’s amazing to me,” Martinez said. “He puts himself in a good position to hit every ball.”

PITCHING PLANS

After Washington starter Aníbal Sánchez allowed three runs in five innings, Kyle Finnegan (4-2) threw a scoreless seventh, and Carl Edwards Jr. worked the ninth for his second save of the season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: Melvin said he’s “encouraged” that C Jorge Alfaro (sore right knee) will be able to catch Sunday.

Nationals: SS Luis García was out of the starting lineup with a strained left groin. … LHP Patrick Corbin is scheduled to start Tuesday. … RHP Erick Fedde (15-day IL; right shoulder inflammation) is expected to make a rehabilitation start at Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday.

UP NEXT

On Sunday, San Diego sends LHP Blake Snell (4-6, 3.96 ERA) to the mound against Washington RHP Paolo Espino (0-4, 4.04).

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

3 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

3 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

3 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

3 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

3 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

3 months ago

Blocking the plate call on review helps Nats top Padres 4-3