SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale discusses what will be an exciting race to the finish for these teams looking to secure a wild card spot.

In what may seem a fitting metaphor for the Washington Nationals’ season, they had a baserunner thrown out on a walk.

The play happened in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night with the Nationals hosting the St. Louis Cardinals. Shortstop Trea Turner drew a one-out walk and, with a 3-2 count on Bryce Harper, took off for second base. 

Home plate umpire Nic Lentz called the borderline pitch a ball, sending Harper to first. But taking no chances, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina threw down to second anyway.

.@Cardinals challenge call that Trea Turner is safe at 2B in 1st; call overturned, runner is out.

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— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) September 5, 2018

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary until the Cardinal dugout started stirring before the next hitter, Anthony Rendon, stepped into the batter’s box. 

The Cardinals challenged that Turner came off the second base bag while shortstop Paul DeJong kept the tag on him.

After a video review, Turner was called out — leaving the home fans wondering how one of their players could be called out while going from first to second on a walk.

Just to go back to the Turner play real quick: That was yet another perfect scenario for an umpire with a microphone to explain to everyone in the park what the heck just happened. Guessing there are a bunch of fans who still don’t know why Turner is out.

— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) September 4, 2018

Under baseball rules, any runner who advances a base on a walk can do so without being tagged out. But the ball is not dead.

Because Turner reached second and then came off the bag, he was fair game.

An inning with high expectations quickly fizzled when Anthony Rendon lined out to left for the final out. Just like the Nationals’ season.

Follow Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner


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