All of the loopy madness at the end of last night’s 4-3 Dodgers victory started with Jerry Hairston spoiling a moment so dramatic it seemed scripted. In the seventh inning, he sprinted around third base as Bryce Harper charged a single to left field. Harper fired a bullet, a perfect strike to catcher Wilson Ramos, in time to keep the Nationals ahead by a run.
Hairston’s slide jarred the ball loose, and there is no debate about that. But whether what he did was within the rules can be argued. Hairston appeared to whack Ramos’s glove, and Manager Davey Johnson insisted late Saturday night the run should not have counted. “He smacked the ball,” Johnson said. “He’s out.”
When asked about the play this morning, Hairston smiled as if he knew he had gotten away with something. But he argued the play was clean.
“I have a right to home plate,” Hairston said. “His glove ran into my hand. I have every right to home plate. I tried to go aggressively hard at home plate. I got a right to home plate. My job is to get my hand at home. When you go hard, stuff happens. But I have every right to go to home plate.”
Ramos said he would have held on to the ball if not for Hairston’s swipe. He believed Hairston had intentionally swatted the ball while in his glove, and also tried to swat it away once it rolled on the dirt.
“I think so,” Hairston said. “With his hand, he touched my glove. And after that, he tried to hit the ball.”