NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — John Buck was glad to get the call — from the New York Mets in the winter and another from Jim Joyce on Saturday.
The Mets’ newest catcher drove in four runs and was in the middle of an exceptionally rare ruling by an umpire that helped New York beat the Miami Marlins 7-3 on Saturday.
An instant after scoring the tying run in the seventh inning, speedy Juan Pierre was called for interference when he collided with Buck far from home plate.
“I’ve been watching for 42 years at this level and I’ve never seen it,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Echoed Joyce: “I have never seen that play before in my life. I asked all the guys on my crew and none of them have ever seen it, either.”
Pierre was at second base and Greg Dobbs hit a two-out single. Pierre dashed home easily to make it 3-all as right fielder Mike Baxter’s throw was 10 feet wide.
Buck retrieved the ball toward the first base side. Then it turned bizarre.
Pierre slowed down a few steps after scoring, but still bumped into Buck as the catcher planted for a throw to second to try and get Dobbs. Both players bumped knees and tumbled to the grass.
“I felt like I was a ways away from the plate,” Buck said. “It was a weird play.”
Joyce immediately called Pierre for interference and ruled Dobbs out, ending the inning.
“I looked up and saw Dobbs wasn’t even halfway to second. Since Juan had already scored and the rule states somebody has to be out on interference, Dobbs had to be the one,” Joyce said.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond discussed the call with Joyce.
“Two guys trying to make a play, going full speed, then the ball goes wide. I guess in the sense of the rule it’s interference, but I don’t understand why it should go against us,” Redmond said.
“It’s kind of weird they get rewarded for making a bad throw. I see him leave the plate so I didn’t slide,” Pierre said.
“I wasn’t expecting to hit him,” he added. “I was shocked more than anything else. I looked up and said, ‘Y’all right?’ and he said, ‘You all right?'”
The Mets broke away by scoring three times in the bottom of the seventh. Daniel Murphy hit an RBI triple, David Wright singled home a run and Buck had a sacrifice fly. Catcher Miguel Olivo contributed to Miami’s problems in the inning with two throwing errors on steals at second base.
Buck has a team-high nine RBIs in his first year with the Mets. He had a sacrifice fly in the first and hit a two-run double off Ricky Nolasco in the sixth for a 3-2 edge.
An All-Star in 2010, Buck dipped to .192 last season with the Marlins. They traded him to Toronto in November, and the Blue Jays dealt him to the Mets in December as part of a package for NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey.
“Last year, if something could go wrong, it went wrong. And then I tried harder to fix it,” Buck said. “It was a lot of stuff.”
Collin Cowgill, who hit a grand slam on opening day, had a solo homer in the Mets’ eighth.
Brandon Lyon (1-0) pitched one scoreless inning. Ryan Webb (0-1) took the loss.
Shortstop Ruben Tejada’s fourth error of the season gave Miami a 2-1 lead in the fifth.
Jonathon Niese gave up one earned run in six innings, the 22nd straight time he’s gone at least that far for the Mets.
Besides the Buck-Pierre play, there were other odd moments.
At one point, the bullpen phone in the Marlins’ dugout wasn’t working. Backup catcher Kyle Skipworth was dispatched to deliver a message in person.
“I was sitting there and Skip said, ‘Get Webb going.’ I didn’t understand at first, then he said ‘Go, Go!’ so I ran out there as fast as I could,” Skipworth said.
Also, Joyce had a discussion with both managers after a fan was apparently shouting out pitch locations to hitters.
NOTES: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez is set to make his major league debut Sunday. At 20 years, 250 days, he will become the youngest pitcher in team history. Fernandez, who has never pitched above Class A, was the youngest pitcher on a big league roster on opening day, STATS said. “Will he be nervous? Absolutely,” Redmond said. … LHP Aaron Laffey is set to make his Mets debut Sunday. … The Mets have homered in the first five games of a season for the first time since 1999. … Webb is the son of Hank Webb, who pitched for the Mets from 1972-76.
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