ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - In a game stalemated through four hours and 11 innings Sunday, two key calls overturned by baseball's new replay system played a large role in the Yankees' 5-1 win over the Rays.
The most important challenge came in the fourth inning. With Alfonso Soriano on third and two outs, Rays rightfielder Wil Myers initially was ruled to have made a leaping catch at the wall on Brett Gardner's drive. Gardner continued to run and got all the way to home plate as Myers walked in with the ball, and Joe Girardi challenged the call, believing that the ball had bounced off the wall and into Myers' glove.
He was correct. As Myers leaped, the ball clearly ricocheted off a screen above the padding on the rightfield wall, deflected off the padding and went right into Myers' glove, and he tried to sell it as a catch.
The replay showed it was an obvious hit that drove in Soriano from third; the key question was where the umpires would put Gardner. He had slowed down after rounding second but accelerated around third toward the plate, encouraged to keep running by Soriano.
Gardner was disappointed to have to settle for a double instead of a home run or a triple. "I was unhappy I had to go back to second base,'' he said. "We're taught to keep playing. [Myers] knew he didn't catch the ball [on the fly]. He knew he didn't catch it, but he acted like he caught it. The umpire called me out. I'm definitely fortunate we have the replay.''
He added: "You're penalizing me for keeping going and you're rewarding him for acting like he caught it when he knew he didn't catch it. I don't think anything like this has happened before, so they couldn't really give me an answer. Thank goodness we do have the replay process in place.''
The other call, which was less important, didn't go the Yankees' way. In the 11th, Ichiro Suzuki, pinch running for Derek Jeter, tried to steal second and was called safe. After a challenge, he was ruled out.
"I've been comfortable with it,'' Girardi said. "I think it's good for baseball. Obviously there are going to be some that are a little gray, but for the most part, they've done a really, really good job and I've been happy with it.''