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04/12/09 5:10 PM ET

Dodgers get run on 'fourth-out rule'

Ethier scores before double play ends top of second

PHOENIX -- The Dodgers literally were awarded a gift run in the second inning Sunday when a rarely seen "fourth-out rule" was invoked in their game against the D-backs.

Andre Ethier was at third base, Juan Pierre at second, and with one out, Randy Wolf lined out to pitcher Dan Haren, who threw to second baseman Felipe Lopez, who tagged out Pierre off second base for the apparent third out of the inning.

But by the time Pierre was erased, Ethier had crossed the plate. The D-backs left the field without making a play on Ethier at third base, which would have been the fourth out of the inning.

But as the teams changed sides, plate umpire Larry Vanover walked over to third-base umpire Charlie Reliford, apparently to discuss the play, which Dodgers bench coach Bob Schaefer pointed out to manager Joe Torre, who went out to appeal.

After an umpire huddle, Vanover ruled that the Ethier run counted, even though Ethier had not tagged up, because there was no appeal at third base. Even though a play at third on Ethier would have been the fourth out of the inning, it would have taken precedence over the third out because it would have erased a run.

Arizona scored in the first inning. One pitch after Wolf thought he struck out Felipe Lopez (Vanover disagreed), Lopez doubled, was bunted to third by Chris Young and scored on Stephen Drew's sacrifice fly.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.