A mental error by Dodgers bench coach Don Mattingly proved costly Tuesday night.
Mattingly, serving as acting manager because Joe Torre had been ejected two innings earlier, was forced to remove closer Jonathan Broxton with the Dodgers leading the Giants in the ninth inning. The reason: Mattingly inadvertently made a second trip to the mound during the same visit.
San Francisco rallied for three runs against Broxton’s replacements and won the game, 7-5. Broxton was charged with the runs and the loss.
With one out and the bases loaded in the ninth, Mattingly conferred with Broxton and the Dodgers’ infielders on the mound. Mattingly left the mound, then turned and walked back toward Broxton. That constituted a second trip in the same inning, meaning Broxton had to leave the game.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy alerted home plate umpire Adrian Johnson, who conferred with the other three umps. Crew chief Tim McClelland eventually ruled Broxton had to be removed.
"Once you leave the dirt, you can’t go back," Bochy told CSN Bay Area after the game. In fact, Rule 8.06(d) states, in part: "A manager or coach is considered to have concluded his visit to the mound when he leaves the 18-foot circle surrounding the pitcher’s rubber."
Mattingly told reporters after the game he knew the rule, but didn’t realize he had left the dirt.
"I kind of had a feeling (it was a second trip) because Adrian was yelling ‘No, no, no. You can’t go back,’ as I turned to talk to James," he said. "It cost us a chance to win the game."
George Sherrill replaced Broxton after hastily warming up. Andres Torres doubled on Sherrill’s second pitch, giving San Francisco a 6-5 lead.
Mattingly then replaced Sherrill with Travis Schlichting, who had been warming up prior to Sherrill getting the call. After a fielder’s choice grounder, Buster Posey singled home Torres to put the Giants ahead 7-5.
San Francisco’s Jeremy Affedlt pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth to secure the victory.
Bochy told CSN that this was the second time a Dodgers manager had made that mistake against his team. He didn’t give details, but according to SN research, Grady Little did it Aug. 23, 2006, when he had to remove Brad Penny in a game against the Padres, then managed by Bochy.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.