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10/16/09 9:30 PM ET

Rare ruling cited in would-be double play

Dodgers' Loney charged with intentionally dropping ball

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers could have had a double play on Pedro Martinez's attempted sacrifice bunt in the top of the third inning during Game 2 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on Friday.

But a little gamesmanship by Dodgers first baseman James Loney did not go unnoticed by the umpires.

With one out and the Phillies' Carlos Ruiz on first base, Martinez popped up his bunt. Loney had the ball in his glove, but let it drop. Ruiz, thinking the ball would be caught, had gone back to first.

Loney threw to Ronnie Belliard, who was covering first base and stepped on the bag before tagging Ruiz. Martinez was ruled out on the play and Ruiz continued to occupy first base, causing Dodgers manager Joe Torre to come out in search of an explanation.

The umpires ruled that Loney intentionally dropped the ball. According to rule 6.05 (L), the batter is automatically out if an "infielder intentionally drops a fair fly ball or line drive, with first, first and second, first and third, or first, second and third base occupied before two are out. The ball is dead and runner or runners shall return to their original base or bases."

If he had fielded the ball on a hop, Loney could have attempted a more conventional double play by throwing to second base to force Ruiz and trying to double up Martinez at first. The mistake did not end up costing the Dodgers. Ruiz stole second base with two out, but was stranded when Shane Victorino popped out to end the inning.

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