Ethier draws five-ball free pass
Umpire loses track of count during first-inning at-bat
PHILADELPHIA -- It's not unusual for Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier to work a walk, as he ranks third on Los Angeles with 40 free passes.What was odd about his first-inning walk on Sunday night is that he drew five balls from Phillies starter Joe Blanton before getting to take first base when home-plate umpire Jerry Layne lost track of the count before awarding Ethier first following the fifth ball of the at-bat. "I kind of got confused," Blanton said. "After the inning, I kind of walked up to [catcher Carlos] Ruiz, and I was like, 'What happened?' Because [Layne] gave 'full count' one time, and he did '2-2' the next time, I think it was just one of those that just got thrown off somehow. It was just one of those pitches that got lost." After working a 3-2 count, Ethier fouled off a pair of Blanton's offerings. It ended up not mattering when the righty's next two pitches were both balls. Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he missed it while talking to bench coach Bob Schaefer, but did not think anything was wrong at the time because Ethier did not argue the call. He later spoke to Ethier and found out his hitter knew the count should have been 3-2 when it was called 2-2. Ethier eventually scored one of Los Angeles' two runs in the game in the first on a James Loney RBI single. "That would have been nice if he made an out and we didn't score that run," Torre said in a sarcastic tone, "but I'm glad it didn't hurt us." Ethier added that it ended up not mattering because of the Dodgers' 5-2 loss in 11 innings, "but at the same time you hope they're keeping track, someone is, so whatever." Ethier later earned a seventh-inning walk, this one of the four-ball variety. Blanton said he definitely was not going to say anything because a pitcher has to take any advantage he can get. "You're not going to rat yourself out," Blanton said. "It's just kind iof one of those weird things in baseball that happens."
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Kevin Horan contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.