Rangers overcome disputed Hamilton call
Umpires do not review ball that cleared left-field fence in fourth
ARLINGTON -- What looked like a game-tying home run by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton ended up being just a double, much to the surprise of Hamilton and his teammates.In the bottom of the fourth inning with the Rangers trailing, 2-1, Hamilton lined a 2-0 pitch for what looked like his second home run in as many at-bats. The ball hit the back portion of the left-field wall, yet was ruled to have hit the top of the wall by the umpiring crew. "I just looked at the replay and saw that the ball hit the back part of the wall," umpiring crew chief Dana DeMuth said. "The deal with the replay, which is a great tool that Major League Baseball has put onto us, is a tool that I probably should have used and I did not. Just like a team's manager has a trust in their team, I have a trust in my umpire and my umpire that was out on that call [Doug Eddings] didn't feel there was any question in his mind. He felt 100 percent sure on it. He didn't come to me." With Hamilton standing on second base, Rangers manager Ron Washington came out to argue the call. Washington didn't ask for a review because the crew told him they were confident that the ball hit the wall rather than behind it. "The umpire told me he saw a white baseball on a green background," Washington said. DeMuth said that managers do not have to ask for a review and it is at the discretion of the umpire. "He can ask all he wants, but it is up to the crew chief. I have to have trust in my crew and my crew member was 100 percent sure of that call," DeMuth said. "Looking at it, it hit the back bracket to where I could see field level. The only people that had the best angle were the people that were out there. He called what he thought was 100 percent sure. "I didn't see any doubt in him on that and I didn't think the replay was necessary. Obviously, I'm wrong." DeMuth said that later in the game, players, including those from Baltimore, were telling the crew that it was a home run. "I asked them, 'You guys want to review that?'" said Hamilton. "He said, 'No.' He said he was confident enough in his call. It don't matter now. It obviously would have been different if we had lost."
"We were in Toronto and there was a ball that hit the middle of the wall and they checked it," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "I just think that now that we have that tool available, I just think that if it's anywhere close, that they should check it."Yeah, it does stop the game for a minute. But it's better to check it and get it right." It proved costly as the Rangers failed to score in the inning. Nelson Cruz flied out to right field, advancing Hamilton to third, but Justin Smoak and Matt Treanor both grounded out to end the inning. A home run would have won the game for the Rangers, but Texas had to play a full nine innings before walking off for a 4-3 win over the Orioles on a sacrifice fly by Cruz. "They missed it. There is no reason for me to go into it," third baseman Michael Young said. "Umpires aren't perfect. Obviously, we have a replay system in place, but they chose not to look at it. Not much we can do about it. "They said it was a home run, they missed a call, that's it. I recognize that's not an easy call, that's not an easy read for an umpire. Fortunately, we won the ballgame and don't have to worry about it."
Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.