Werth's interference leads to Mets' critical DP

NY gets first two outs in 9th after Nats outfielder's illegal slide into second base

Werth's interference leads to Mets' critical DP

NEW YORK -- In a wild game full of twists and turns, the Nationals looked poised to add one final layer of intrigue to what ultimately became a 9-7 Mets win Thursday night at Citi Field. With the Mets in possession of a two-run lead in the ninth, Jayson Werth drew a leadoff walk that brought Daniel Murphy, representing the tying run, to the plate.

What ensued was another twist, but not what the Nationals were hoping for. A sharp grounder off the bat of Murphy turned into a double play, the result of a slick play by Asdrubal Cabrera and an interference call against Werth at second base. That put an end to a potential Nationals rally and allowed the Mets to take the series opener. Umpire Jim Joyce ruled interference per rule 6.01(j), and after replay review, the call stood.

"It's a big spot in the game there," Werth said. "It's challenging because I feel like, on some level, I had the same slide earlier in the game. ... To me, that's a clean slide. It's been a clean slide for over a hundred years. There were no spikes involved; I was down early."

Cabrera got the double play started with a diving stop that robbed Murphy of a hit. After popping to his knees, Cabrera delivered a backhand toss to Neil Walker to get Werth out at second.

"When he hit it, I knew I had a good chance to have it," Cabrera said. "As soon as I felt it in my glove, I knew I had to get one [out] first, and that's what I did."

Werth slid past the bag at second and Walker hit the dirt. Walker's throw to first was too late to get Murphy and pulled Kelly Johnson off the bag, but the Nationals second baseman was ruled out because of Werth's interference.

"I have no problem with that slide, it's a great slide," Walker said. "That's what we are taught to do as players, but the way it's being called now, if you slide past the bag and your hand doesn't stay on or you don't make an attempt, there's a chance it's going to be called. I just wanted to make sure I got rid of that ball so that I attempted to turn the double play just in case something like that happened."

The Nationals opted to challenge the call on the field, but after a quick review, the decision was upheld.

"I know I've been told four or five different things from different crews about the rules," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "Last time, I was told that it was going to be a common-sense-type thing if there's no play at first base. My contention was he would have beaten the throw no matter what.

"I wish we'd get one answer on what we're going to do with this double-play thing. Because it's going to rear its ugly head in the playoffs or the World Series or something, and you'd hate to have a call like that decide whether you go to the World Series or whether you win the World Series."

Following the double play, Mets closer Jeurys Familia struck out Bryce Harper to lock down his 47th consecutive save, tying him with Brad Lidge for the fifth-longest streak in Major League history.

Troy Provost-Heron is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.