MINNEAPOLIS - Major League Baseball was fortunate that the latest blown call by an umpire in the postseason didn't factor into the final result of the Yankees' 6-4 victory over the Twins Wednesday night in ALDS Game 1.
But a growing number of people in the game fear these mistakes will continue to happen - with the potential to wreak serious havoc at this time of year - unless commissioner Bud Selig expands instant replay.
Video replays showed that Yankees rightfielder Greg Golson made a shoestring catch for what should have been the final out. But rightfield umpire Chris Guccione ruled it a hit, allowing the game to continue.
Mariano Rivera got Jim Thome to pop out to third on the next pitch to end it. But the fact that a guy with 589 career home runs had the opportunity to step to the plate representing the potential tying run was a source of frustration among the Yankees after the game.
Support for expanding instant replay began gaining steam last postseason in response to several blown calls in important situations, most notably in ALDS Game 2 at Yankee Stadium, when an 11th-inning drive down the leftfield line by the Twins' Joe Mauer hit leftfielder Melky Cabrera's glove while he was in fair territory, also landed fair and bounced into the stands for what should have been a ground-rule double - only to be called a foul ball. It likely cost the Twins a chance to take the lead - Mauer, Jason Kubel and Mike Cuddyer subsequently singled to load the bases with none out in an inning in which the Twins failed to score - and wound up being a pivotal play in the Yankees' three-game sweep.
Then Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga lost his perfect game this summer when umpire Jim Joyce incorrectly called a runner safe at first base on what replays clearly showed should have been the final out. Joyce apologized to Galarraga after the game and was in tears when he took the field the next day.
Galarraga's imperfect game sparked Selig to say he would think about expanding replay beyond home run calls. But ultimately he decided against it.
One of the concerns about expanding replay is the time it could add to games that already take more than three hours to play, on average. But Yankees manager Joe Girardi suggested Thursday that watching a replay probably would take less time than what occurs now: a manager running onto the field to argue with umpires, followed by a umpire conference.
"You could have an umpire right in front of a TV and it could be, bang," Girardi said.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he likes the game "as it is,'' believing that blown calls tend to even out over time. But he also said expanded relay could be beneficial if done right. "If they can help the guys out, make it easier and get calls right and figure a way to do it, you know, in a short time,'' Gardenhire said, "then good for them."
With Erik Boland
and Anthony Rieber