Brett Carroll couldn’t really laugh at Anderson Hernandez’s blunder.
That’s because Carroll, a center fielder for the Nashville Sounds, had been there — just two batters before and he almost ended up with a mouthful of grass.
It was that sort of zany Wednesday afternoon at Greer Stadium as the Sounds grabbed a 6-1 victory in a five-error game that including four miscues from the visiting Oklahoma City Redhawks.
The odd thing is both teams had been fielding pretty solidly prior to Wednesday. The Redhawks (2-4) had committed just five errors. The Sounds (5-2) — who wrap up an eight-game homestand Thursday with a 7:05 p.m. matchup against Oklahoma City — had just four coming into the day game.
In fairness, the afternoon tilt was only 14 hours after a twilight doubleheader ended on Tuesday night after Monday’s game was postponed due to rain.
“It was a late night [Tuesday],” Sounds manager Don Money said. “And you have a 12 o’clock game [Wednesday] and everybody is a little down, dragging a little bit. You know those kind of games happen.”
The first error came at the expense of Carroll, a Middle Tennessee State grad and eight-year veteran who the Milwaukee Brewers picked up in a trade with the Kansas City Royals two weeks ago. In the second inning, Oklahoma City’s Tommy Manzella lofted a fly ball to center field. Carroll backed up to make the catch, but adjusted to the flight of the ball too late. The ball glanced off his glove and Manzella raced all the way to third on the error.
“I went right and the ball started fading back to my left side and I got turned around,” Carroll, who spent the last seven years in the Florida Marlins organization, said. “When you start moving like that, your head starts moving and I almost fell on my face.”
Hernandez reached first safely on a groundball to third, in which the throw went home to try to get Manzella but he slid in safely to give the Redhawks a 1-0 lead. Carroll, a Knoxville native, would redeem himself on the next play — at the expense of Hernandez.
With one out, Oswaldo Navarro flied to center and this time Carroll made the routine grab. As he made the catch, though, his teammate and right fielder Brendan Katin yelled for him to throw to first base.
Why? Hernandez had rounded second as Carroll made the grab. Carroll made the easy throw to first base to double off Hernandez and end the inning with the unusual 8-3 putout.
“I think he was doing me a favor. He felt sorry for the ball I botched in center field and he thought, ‘I’ll give you an out here to make up for it,’ ” Carroll joked. “I asked [Katin] later on ‘What was going on?’ He was like ‘I think he forgot the [number of] outs.’ That is what I figured because it wasn’t a shallow fly ball or something he thought was going to drop. I just think he had a little brain collapse like we always do. We’re prone to do that.”
Hernandez, however, wasn’t mistake-free. The second baseman botched a routine groundout in the fourth.
Hernandez wasn’t alone, though. In the seventh, first baseman Koby Clemens, the son of former seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, dropped a foul ball that he had to chase up the line. That kept the at-bat of Sounds catcher Martin Maldonado alive.
Maldonado later struck out swinging for the second out, and the Redhawks threw down to second to try to catch Brandon Boggs stealing. Oklahoma City had him in a rundown but the Redhawks forgot about Carroll, who was on third. Boggs stalled long enough to allow Carroll to score the Sounds’ sixth run.
“I don’t know what happened on their side,” Money said of the weird play of events for Oklahoma City. “I’m glad it did, and not [to] us.”
But the craziest play yet was in the sixth inning and once again involved Carroll. The 28-year-old led off with what appeared to be a routine grounder to third base. Navarro went to scoop it up but couldn’t grip the ball as it sputtered out of his glove for an error. As he went to pick it up a second time with his glove, he flipped it up so high that it flew onto the other side of the diamond near foul territory.
Carroll never stopped running, racing to second. He didn’t stop there as he realized Navarro had ventured away from third base. Carroll took a chance and slid in safely to third, just beating the tag.
He scored on the very next play to tie the game when Boggs singled to center. Maldonado knocked in Boggs for the go-ahead run with a double down the right field line.
“That is an oddball one,” Money said of Navarro’s two-error play.
Added Carroll: “That’s the beauty of this sport. It kind of keeps you coming back because you never know what to expect.”
Except Wednesday was anything but beautiful.