Trapped ball allows Rangers to escape jam
Umpires rule Martin catches ball; replays show otherwise
ARLINGTON -- The Rays were denied at least one run run in the seventh inning at Rangers Ballpark on Monday night, when left-field umpire Bruce Dreckman ruled that Leonys Martin caught a ball replays showed he trapped.
With runners on first and second and two outs in the top of the seventh, and the Rays already leading 4-2 in the American League Wild Card tiebreaker, designated hitter Delmon Young hit a sinking liner to center field off Joakim Soria. Martin sprinted forward and extended his arm, eventually fielding the ball in the palm of his glove but immediately after it hit the ground.
Young was stunned at the call as he rounded first with his arms extended, indicating the ball should've been a base hit, and Rays manager Joe Maddon briefly came out to dispute the call.
The Rays eventually secured the American League's second Wild Card with a 5-2 victory, and will travel to Cleveland to play the Indians in the AL Wild Card Game on Wednesday (first pitch at 8:07 p.m. ET on TBS).
Next year, that play may be reviewable, with the use of review for fair-foul and trap plays incorporated into the most recent Basic Agreement and possibly added to the fold in 2014. Major League Baseball staffs two additional umpires to work each foul line in the outfield for postseason and tiebreaker games, but that ends up placing them in angles where they're not used to making calls.
This isn't the first time a Rays-Rangers game has been hindered by a controversial call this season.
On April 8, with a runner on first, two outs and the Rays trailing by one in the top of the ninth at Rangers Ballpark, Marty Foster rung up Ben Zobrist on a full-count breaking ball that was well outside of home plate, giving Joe Nathan his 300th career save. Maddon followed Foster and crew chief Tim Welke off the field, arguing his case to no avail. Welke was the crew chief for Monday night's game.