Posted July 30, 2013

Watch: Rays beat Red Sox thanks to blown call at home plate

Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Umpires

The battle for first place in the American League East took a pivotal turn on a call at home plate that the home-plate umpire later admitted he flat-out missed. In the eighth inning of Monday’s game between Boston and Tampa Bay, with runners on second and third, one out and Tampa up 2-1, Red Sox third baseman Brandon Snyder lifted a flyball to shallow left field that Sam Fuld caught. Fuld then wound up and unleashed a throw that took him literally off his feet as pinch-runner Daniel Nava raced for home. Nava slid in just as the ball arrived at home, and on first glance, appeared to get his lead foot under the pads and glove of catcher Jose Molina.

But home-plate umpire Jerry Meals ruled Nava out on the throw, ending the inning and prompting a furious outburst from Nava and Red Sox manager John Farrell, who was thrown out for arguing the call. And as the replays showed, Farrell was right to be angry.

Tampa finished the win, albeit not before the Red Sox again put two on in the ninth but failed to score, giving the Rays a 1/2-game lead in the division.

After the game, Meals admitted to Associated Press reporter Ken Powtak that he, in fact, had the call wrong:

“What I saw was: Molina blocked the plate and Nava’s foot lifted,” Meals said. “But in the replays, you could clearly see Nava’s foot got under for a split second and then lifted, so I was wrong on my decision. From the angle I had, I did not see his foot get under Molina’s shin guard.”

That was of little comfort to Farrell, who ripped Meals after the game for the call:

“It was a missed call, terrible call,” Red Sox manager John Farrell, who was ejected for arguing the call, said after the game. “Clearly, the angle of Jerry Meals behind the plate when the throw came in, he did not see the view. Daniel Nava was safe. It’s unfortunate, we should still be playing right now.”

Nava, too, said afterward that he felt he was safe, though he was somewhat more diplomatic than Farrell:

“There was no doubt in my mind, I knew I was safe,” Nava said. “Obviously with the human element, there are certain elements [when instant replay gets brought up], but this was just one that most of the time they’d probably get the call right, it just went against us. It’s part of the game, and obviously if you’re on the other side, in the other locker room, you don’t really care. When you’re on this side, you care a little more.”

It probably helps to know that, prior to the call at home, Nava had a chance to score on Stephen Drew’s double that bounced off the right-field wall. Nava admitted that he got a bad read on the flyball, which landed a couple of steps behind Tampa rightfielder Wil Myers, and thus was unable to come home on the play.

Lost in all the hoopla of the missed call was another stellar outing for David Price, who allowed one run on two hits in 7 1/3 rain-shortened innings, striking out eight. Price actually came out for the eighth inning after a brief rain delay, but was pulled after retiring the first batter. Joel Peralta (2/3 IP, 2 H) and Francisco Rodney (1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) finished the game for Tampa.

The Red Sox and Rays won’t see each other again for a couple of months; the next series between the two teams won’t be until September 10. Until then, we’ll have to get by on this brief slap fight between the two teams’ Twitter accounts after Monday’s game.

10 comments
LIrays
LIrays

There are calls all year that impact a game, over 162 it is all noise. The Nathan pitch cost the Rays "A CHANCE" to win, no guarantee that they would have got a hit. The out call on Nava last night would have only guaranteed a tie game, the Sox then had guys on 2nd and 3rd in the 9th and didn't score,,,didn't cost them a game, cost them a run and "a chance to win the gem" which they still had. The real issue is Nava screwed up on the bases when he didn't score on the previous double or it wouldn't have mattered. 

mijamo72
mijamo72

It is just not this call.  Umpires are terrible this year.  You can't blame an umpire for making a mistake as to safe or out.  You can blame an umpire for making a wrong call for being out of position.  If you want proof of bad officiating.....you have to look no further then the Red Sox at Baltimore series this past weekend.  Tim Timmons has got to be the worst.  The sad part about this is the MLB will not axe these guys........in any other business, a poor performance like some of these guys put up day after day, would cost you your job.  MLB just keeps them around. When I look at these  guys, especially Meals and Timmons it certainly brings up names like NBA ref Tim Donaghy.......brings a lot of focus on these two MLB guys for fixing games.  Last night was a very obvious call.....could have meant extra innings......or Umpire Meals decided to call him out and give Tampa the victory.  I hope MLB investigates.

redsox_celtics
redsox_celtics

Terrible call, everyone in the league will take their screwjobs over the course of the year though. The Rays had the HORRBLE Joe Nathan strike 3. The Red Sox had this epic blown call. Whos next? The O's? The Yanks? We'll see. We need replay, blown calls can't become a part of the game. 

SoundersCougzBraves
SoundersCougzBraves

It’s only a “missed” call if you’re a cry baby Sox fan.... 

Big1
Big1

The umpire was in the textbook position and in this case, was not the best position to be in.  It happens and it sucks.. But still, the umpire gets 1, full speed view at it... we get slo-motion replay from every possible angle... it is what it is....The Umpire was where he should be and from his angle, looked like he got him... I do the same job at much lower levels... the textbook places to be are not always the best spot to be... it happens..


That and, it couldn't have happened to a better team (I hate Boston.)...

Kenny9
Kenny9

Calls are missed but at least get in a good position to make the call.. That is just laziness to be in that position on the call.  The throw was coming from the outfield and all he had to do was move his feet to get in a good angle to make the call.

mijamo72
mijamo72

@LIrays I agree.....Nava screwed up!  But, this is not the first time Meals has been out of position.  MLB has to clean up their low performing umps.......or, in this case, crooked umps.  The Red Sox have screwed up running the bases all year.  I do not condone their lack of intelligence in baserunning.  But there is no defense of an ump who was out of position and blew a very obvious call.  You are right, Rays still could have won.....but the players need to decide not guys like Meals.

mijamo72
mijamo72

@Big1 You didn't have to write your last sentence, because looking at your post, it is pretty obvious.  If you think that Meals was in the right position, then I certainly hope you never progress past your much lower level.  Meals.....like Timmons, is crooked.  I guarantee it will come out eventually.  He is either crooked or very inept.  Either way, it is not good.  MLB has to clean up these Donaghy want-to-be's!