Frozen stiff between first and second, Abraham Nunez took the St. Louis Cardinals out of a big inning.
Nunez's indecision led to an unusual double play when teammate Yadier Molina passed him on the base paths yesterday in a 5-4, 10-inning loss to Pittsburgh.
"I think everybody knew what was going on but me," Nunez said.
The play came with one out and runners on first and second. Nunez, who was on first, apparently thought Molina's drive was caught by RF Matt Lawton and was retreating to first as Molina rounded the bag and passed him while gesturing to his teammate to turn around.
Molina was called out for passing his teammate, and the stunned Nunez was standing near second when he was tagged out by 2B Jose Castillo for an inning-ending double play.
"It was the key to the game," Pirates LHP Oliver Perez said. "Maybe Nunez scores on that double, but he got confused."
* MODEST MARLIN: His 12 wins lead the National League. Only Roger Clemens has a better ERA. No one has more shutouts or complete games.
Yet in a display of humility, Dontrelle Willis said NL Manager Tony La Russa should look within his Cardinals team for the All-Star Game starter.
"Honestly, I would want him to start one of his guys no matter what," said Willis, referring to RHP Chris Carpenter (11-4, 2.77). If Jack [McKeon] was managing, it would be different. . . . I'm happy to be there, but I would love to get in there and get my cleats dirty."
Because of the way the Marlins' and Cardinals' rotations line up, Willis may have an edge over Carpenter. Willis is scheduled to make his last first-half start the Friday before the All-Star Game at Comerica Park on July 12.
The Cardinals are looking at shuffling their starters to get Carpenter an additional turn. His last outing could come on Sunday, July 10, making him unavailable to start in Detroit.
* MANUEL TOSSED: Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes with plate umpire Gary Darling. It was Manuel's third ejection of the season.
-- From News Services