Braves vs. Cardinals: infield fly rule call causes Turner Field chaos

A startling bullpen meltdown by the St. Louis Cardinals turned rapidly into a startling infield fly rule call by an umpire turned more rapidly still into an Atlanta Braves crowd that began throwing bottles and trash onto Turner Field. The near-riot delayed the game for minutes, sent both teams off the field, and overshadowed what was almost certainly the wrong call.

Andrelton Simmons's pop-fly to short left field split a disoriented Pete Kozma, who'd called for it, and a loping Matt Holliday, and looked like an obvious bases-loading hit on Kozma's mental error. But the left field umpire called the infield fly rule both very late and outside the infield, leaving Simmons out and the Turner Field crowd in a frenzy. Players had to dodge trash on their way into their respective dugouts.

It was a bad call, but unlike most bad calls it stopped the game dead in its tracks. The delay stretched past 10 minutes while stadium staff tried to clear the field and quiet the erupting crowd, leaving a game-tying at-bat—bottom of the eighth, two outs, two on, the score still 6-3—overshadowed by the kind of officiating controversy that is usually reserved for NFL replacement referees.

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