Blown call benefits Rangers in 11-inning victory over Tigers
Rangers third baseman Alberto Gonzalez fouled a ball off his leg on a suicide squeeze attempt in the 11th inning, but none of the umpires saw the ball bounce off of his knee and the game-winning run scored. Tigers manager Jim Leyland argued the call, but it wasn't overturned.
As if the Rangers need much help these days, they got it from home plate umpire Tim Welke and his crew on Sunday.
In the top of the 11th inning in Detroit, the Rangers loaded the bases with no outs against Detroit's Thad Weber, who was making his big-league debut. Playing in the place of the injured Adrian Beltre, Texas third baseman Alberto Gonzalez attempted to bunt Weber's first pitch, but fouled it off his bat and then his knee into the field of play. Because there was the sound of wood and then the ball went forward as if it was a perfectly executed suicide squeeze, the umpiring crew didn't blink an eye as Nelson Cruz scored from third.
Check it out here on the perfect angle to show exactly what happened.
Problem was, Welke didn't have the same angle.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland came out to argue the call, the umpiring crew conferred and the call as upheld. What should have been called was a foul ball and Gonzalez to be down 0-1, giving Weber (and Gonzalez) another chance.
Mitch Moreland followed by grounding into a 5-4-3 double play and then Ian Kinsler grounded out to end the inning, but by that time, the damage was done. Joe Nathan picked up the save after a Miguel Carbera single to give the Rangers an impressive 8-1 road trip. The Rangers are now a big-league best 13-3.
There's no way to be able to know what would have happened had the play been called correctly -- it's not a stretch to say that the Rangers offense would have found a way to score in the inning -- but all we know is what did happen: the Rangers got a break and went home a winner.
While there are people against instant replay, this is one of those cases where an observer in an office somewhere else (like they do in the NHL) could have gotten the call and the game wouldn't have been held up any more than it already was. In the end, these games mean too much not to get the calls right. We have the technology, it's time to use it.