After blown call, Joe Girardi says "Let's have instant replay"
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Bring on instant replay.
That was the clear message from a still-steaming Joe Girardi Sunday, shortly after a blown call by second-base umpire Jeff Nelson hastened the Yankees' 3-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series.
"Let's have instant replay," said Girardi, who was ejected after arguing the call in the eighth inning. "And not just . . . home run, fair, foul."
Girardi has advocated replay in the past, though he expressed concerns about how an expanded system might slow the rhythm of the game. But he ignored those previous concerns Sunday when Nelson's blown call helped the Tigers seize a 2-0 lead in the ALCS, with ace Justin Verlander starting Tuesday night's Game 3.
"It would be quicker to get the call right or wrong -- or right on the replay -- than for me to go out there and argue," said Girardi, who was ejected for the fifth time this season for doing just that.
With two outs in the eighth inning, a runner on first base and the Tigers leading 1-0, Austin Jackson lined a single to rightfield. Omar Infante, the runner at first, overran the bag at second. Rightfielder Nick Swisher threw behind him and second baseman Robinson Cano applied the tag before Infante could get back to the base.
Despite being in position, Nelson ruled Infante safe, later saying that Cano's tag was late. Girardi argued, retreated to the dugout to view a replay, then confronted Nelson later in the inning during a pitching change. Nelson tossed Girardi for arguing for a second time -- only to admit blowing the call later on.
"The hand did not get in before the bag," Nelson told a pool reporter after viewing a replay. "The call was incorrect."
A correct call would have ended the inning. Instead, the Tigers used the extra out to score two more runs against the Yankees' bullpen.
"It's unbelievable [Nelson] made that call," Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda said through a translator.
Former Yankees manager Joe Torre, in attendance in his capacity as baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations, confirmed that the blame fell on the umpire. Torre also was in attendance when the Braves caught a tough break earlier this postseason in the infamous "outfield fly" wild-card game.
"He made the wrong call," said Torre, who acknowledged the continuing public debate about replay.
Baseball's current rules allow for video review on disputed home run calls that take place near the boundary, which often are cases of fans reaching over an outfield fence to interfere with a ball. Disputed fair or foul calls on home runs also are covered. But the guidelines don't cover catches on trapped balls, balls down the foul lines or plays at the bases.
"The outcome may be the same," Girardi said about Sunday's bad call. "But I like to take my chances.
"There is more pressure on the pitchers when it is 1-0 in the eighth inning and your club is hitting than 3-0. I would like to take my chances."