NEW YORK (AP) – This was your classic Los Angeles traffic jam, only instead of a freeway, it occurred at home plate.

The result was a bizarre second-inning double play that saw two Dodgers thrown out trying to score, a baserunning blunder that became a vital mistake in Los Angeles’ 6-5 loss to the New York Mets in Wednesday’s playoff opener.

The Dodgers’ second inning had started promisingly with singles by Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew. It looked even better when Russell Martin rifled a shot off the base of the right-field wall.

That’s when the confusion started.

Kent seemed to hesitate at second base. “I had a late start, because I didn’t know if the ball was going to banana in the corner – hook, dogleg, slice,” he said.

There was no hesitation on Drew’s part.

“I got a better angle on it,” he said. “The ball was down the line. When I came around third base, I thought the ball was going to rattle around in the corner.”

When he looked up, there was Kent, not far in front of him.

“I think I snuck up on him,” Drew said. “I thought he would score and the play would be on me.”

Instead, it was on both of them.

Mets right fielder Shawn Green corralled the ball quickly and relayed it to second baseman Jose Valentin, who had taken a peek at the runners when the ball was hit.

“I just looked to see where the runners were,” Valentin said. “I saw Kent tagging up so I said to myself, ‘If Green gets the bounce, I’ll take a chance on throwing to the plate.’ I knew I had a chance to get the first guy. I didn’t know the second one was coming.”

Neither did Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca, who set himself at the plate for a play on Kent.

“I knew we had Kent at home,” the catcher said. “I was waiting for the ump to call him out.”

Umpire John Hirschbeck made the out call on Kent, but the look on the ump’s face told Lo Duca something else was up.

“He sort of gave me a “He’s out but you’d better watch out because somebody else is coming’ look,” Lo Duca said. “I turned around, and he was right there.”

The sequence was third base coach Rich Donnelly’s worst nightmare.

“Awful, just awful,” Donnelly said.

“I was ready to throw my hands up but if I hold him (Kent), we’ve got two guys on third base. J.D. was right behind him. The last thing on my mind was that he would try to score. I thought, one’s going to be safe and one’s going to be out. I just hoped they’d throw the ball away.”

No such luck.

“We got two for the price of one,” Valentin said.

“We’ve been in LA all season long,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said. “We know about traffic jams. Certainly had one right there.”



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