SAN DIEGO — The Xander Bogaerts-based streak is complete — and it’s hard to imagine a weirder way to end it.
Bogaerts, who had set a Padres record by reaching base in each of his first 30 games this season, appeared to have extended that streak Wednesday afternoon with a fifth-inning single in the Padres’ 7-1 victory over the Reds at Petco Park.
Instead, Juan Soto’s base run gaffe undid Bogaerts’ single, turning it into one of the most unlikely forced outs you’ll ever see.
With Soto at first base, Bogaerts sent a clean line to the right, where Reds right fielder Stuart Fairchild tried to take a dive. Instead, the ball popped short into Fairchild’s glove.
Soto, who had already passed second, turned to see Fairchild holding the baseball and assumed it had been caught on the fly. He touched up second base and headed for first – much to the dismay of Bogaerts, who was standing at first base waiting for him.
Fairchild threw the ball to second for what was ruled a 9-4 forced out.
And, of course, any 9-4 forced out is weird. But this one offered a particularly unique set of circumstances. Soto had actually touched second base. But Bogaerts would not receive credit for a hit, as Soto proceeded to abandon that base.
If the forced runner, after touching the next base, steps back for any reason towards the base he last occupied, the forced play is restored and he may again be put out if the defense touches the base towards which he is forced.
Because Soto touched up second and retreated to first, his initial touch of second base was called off. He was out second like any other forced out.
“It’s baseball,” Bogaerts said. “You never know what to expect. Every day is different. …Obviously Soto didn’t want to do it on purpose. I will get more (punches).
Bogaerts had two more chances to reach base. In the sixth, he jumped a shallow left, where Reds shortstop Jose Barrero made an excellent catch over the shoulder. In the eighth, he knocked.
Bogaerts went 0 for 5. Still, he had a torrid start to his Padres tenure, with a .291/.378/.479 slash line.
“I wish there was a loophole because he was standing on base at one point,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “Obviously with the line drive it was hard to read. His streak stops. Start a new one after the day off.
On Monday, Bogaerts extended his streak to 30 games, surpassing Bobby Brown’s franchise record with a 29-game on-base streak to start a season, set in 1983. Bogaerts’ overall streak had technically increased to 32 games, as he achieved it in each of his last two games with the Red Sox last season.
The Padres’ all-time record for a single-season scoring streak belongs to Ryan Klesko, who reached base in 56 consecutive games during the 2002 season.