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Church's misstep at third hurts Mets

Church's misstep at third hurts Mets

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LOS ANGELES -- Of all the plays in Monday's game, ranging from the bizarre to the incredulous, none left such an imprint in Jerry Manuel's mind as Ryan Church's incomprehensible dash home in the 11th inning.

Forget that Church had plenty of time to touch third base. Forget that he could have jogged most of the route and scored standing up. The Mets manager was simply trying to wrap his mind around the crux of the thing -- the guy actually ran clear over a base.

"It's hard to miss third base," Manuel said. "I don't know if I ever remember seeing anyone miss third base in a situation like that. I don't have any explanation for it."

Church's explanation was a simple one: He thought he had touched the bag. Indeed, had he known his error, Church would have had ample time to turn around, touch the bag and score standing up. But he had no idea what was happening until the Dodgers appealed the play and won.

Standing on first base moments earlier, Church raced home with the apparent go-ahead run on what should have been a run-scoring triple for Angel Pagan. But Church missed the base. Pagan's hit was ruled a single, the run -- to the delight of the Dodger Stadium crowd -- was erased from the board and the Dodgers won in the bottom of the inning, 3-2.

Manuel ran the scenario through his mind again. He actually missed third base.

"If I had had any doubt, I would have stopped," Church said. "I just feel terrible for not being able to touch the bag. It's a simple thing to do. I didn't do it."

Given the nature of the call, Manuel didn't bother to argue. And Church couldn't argue -- it would have been tough for him to fight something that he didn't know was happening.

"I heard the crowd scream and I just turned around," Church said. "What can you do? If they call you out, they call you out. They're not going to reverse it."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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