05/20/11 7:50 AM ET
Frustration mounts for Nats after call in ninth
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
After Laynce Nix doubled off Francisco Rodriguez with one out, Jayson Werth hit a smash to third baseman Justin Turner, who made a backhanded play and threw the ball to first baseman Daniel Murphy. Werth clearly beat the throw and Murphy's foot was not on the bag. However, first-base umpire Phil Cuzzi called Werth out.
Werth was upset and yelled at Cuzzi before manager Jim Riggleman went on the field to argue for several minutes. The skipper asked home-plate umpire Mike Gonzalez for help, but Gonzalez walked away from Riggleman. Cuzzi and Gonzalez were not available for comment.
After play resumed, Adam LaRoche came to the plate and grounded out to end the game.
"Whether Murphy is on the base or not, I thought Werth was going to be safe, and then I thought Murphy came off the base," Riggleman said.
Said Livan Hernandez, "[Werth] was safe. He beat him two times. [Murphy] was not on the bag and [Werth] was safe, because he beat the throw. I think the umpire made a big mistake."
But the Nationals weren't through arguing with the umpires over the blown call. It escalated outside the clubhouse, according to a source, as catcher Ivan Rodriguez argued with the umpires. Riggleman and general manager Mike Rizzo had to pull Rodriguez away from the umpires. The source also said Rizzo and Riggleman were arguing with the umpires.
Major League Baseball is investigating Rizzo's conduct, a spokesman for the Commissioner's Office told ESPNNewYork.com, which reported that the umpiring crew complained to MLB about verbal mistreatment from Rizzo. On Friday, sources confirmed that the umpires have filed a grievance against Rizzo.
Rodriguez and Riggleman declined to comment about what went on outside the clubhouse, and Rizzo wasn't available for comment.
While Werth talked to the media, he declined to say anything negative about the umpires.
"It's one of those things. That's baseball," Werth said about the play. "I'm not commenting on umpires. ... I don't have too many thoughts on much right now."
Although he disagreed with the call, Riggleman focused more on the offense.
"That's a big call, but we can't let the game come down to that," Riggleman said. "We have to do more. We can't have [three] hits and get shut out two days in a row. We are better than that. We are going to have to do better than that."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.