Oziumrules, on Tuesday, April 8th, 2008, 12:26 AM, said:
How do we not score that run in the bottom of the 9th? Did he miss the sign? He should have walked home. It seemed like he had no idea he was bunting? What a comeback it would have been.
After Doug Mientkiewicz was intentionally walked, Bautista put down a surprise bunt up the first-base line toward Derrek Lee, with an eye toward catching the Chicago infield off guard and giving Bixler a chance to score.Bixler broke initially, hesitated and went back to the bag. Lee scooped up the ball and tagged Bautista for the easy second out. Luis Rivas grounded out to end the inning, and Bixler was booed loudly by the overflow crowd of 37,491.The simplest explanation came from manager John Russell, who acknowledged "this was the kid's second game in the majors" but did not excuse the play: "If he takes off right away, it's over. Bixler just froze."No one disagreed, including Lee, who said, "I'm not going to get him out there."But there was a little more to it, as Russell and others detailed ...The play was one the Pirates had rehearsed all spring, including while Bixler still was in the major-league camp. Typically, it calls for the batter, with a man at third and less than two outs, to use his discretion when deciding to bunt. The runner is to break on contact, then go all out once he sees the ball is on the ground and away from the pitcher.Sometimes, such as when the Pirates did it successfully in the season opener in Atlanta -- with Bautista batting and Nady running -- each receives a signal from third base coach Tony Beasley.Neither had a signal this time."Jose went on his own," Beasley said. "And it's up to Bix to read the play."Beasley also took some blame himself, as he did not react to the bunt, either.Once Bautista was tagged out, he looked over his shoulder to see Bixler still at third and was visibly displeased.That did not appear to change much afterward."It's a play that, if he breaks, we get a run out of it," Bautista said. "I don't know what happened on the other end. I couldn't tell you."Bixler's explanation was as simple as Russell's."It just kind of caught me off guard," Bixler said. "That's about it. I didn't really expect it. I just kind of stopped and let the play go as it did."