Eckstein admires Rollins' persistence
'Smart play' by Phils shortstop to catch Gonzalez off bag
SAN DIEGO -- As a teammate, Padres second baseman David Eckstein was appalled that Adrian Gonzalez was called out in the ninth inning of Monday's loss to the Phillies when he over slid second base and was tagged out by Phils shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
As a middle infielder, though, Eckstein admitted a sense of admiration for the persistence that Rollins showed on the play, regardless if some, especially Gonzalez, thought that the Phillies shortstop pushed Gonzalez's foot off the bag.
"I think that was a smart play by Jimmy," Eckstein said.
With the Padres trailing, 5-3, in the ninth inning and with Gonzalez at first base following a walk, Phillies closer Brad Lidge snapped off a breaking ball that got away from Carlos Ruiz, his catcher.
Gonzalez lit out for second base as Ruiz recovered the ball. Gonzalez's lead leg initially landed on the bag, but the momentum from his slide carried him past the base. Gonzalez then reached back with his other leg to touch the base as Rollins lunged to tag him.
Second-base umpire Paul Emmel quickly ruled that Gonzalez's foot had come off the bag and that by virtue of Rollins' tag that Gonzalez was out. Gonzalez and Padres manager Bud Black argued to no avail.
"I clearly got in there, I kept my balance, I kept my foot on the bag, and he came in there and pushed me off, and the umpire missed it. [The umpire] said it was part of the tag," Gonzalez said after the game.
"He clearly pushed me. My toe was on the bag.... he didn't just go to try to tag me. He went with his whole body. He acted like his intention was to push me."
Eckstein, who said he's never been involved in a play like that either as a shortstop or a second baseman, said his appreciation of the play is for "the continuation of the play ... and when Jimmy saw the foot was coming off the bag, he lunged with full force to tag Adrian."
"It probably more the perfect storm [than a heads-up play]," Eckstein said. "I don't think we'll be able to get away with that [this series]."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.