McClendon wins challenge of close call at first
Ruling overturned after replay indicates Zunino beat out slow grounder
NEW YORK -- Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon successfully challenged a call on a Mike Zunino grounder leading off the fifth inning of Tuesday's 6-3 victory over the Yankees, with umpires overturning their original out call and giving Seattle's catcher what turned out to be a crucial base hit.
Replays showed Zunino beat the throw from second baseman Brian Roberts, thus leading to a reversal of first-base umpire Bill Miller's out call.
The ruling paid off for the Mariners, with Zunino eventually scoring Seattle's first run on a bases-loaded groundout by Robinson Cano. A Corey Hart double and Justin Smoak single, both with two outs, gave the Mariners three more runs in the frame and a 4-2 lead against left-hander CC Sabathia, and they wound up riding that big inning to victory in the series opener.
"I felt like I beat it just because the play happened right in my peripheral [vision]," said Zunino. "It was a bang-bang play, and I hit it and sort of peeked in the dugout and saw them answering the phone right away, so I just hung out. Luckily for that, because I thought I had a good chance of beating that."
Zunino wound up with a career-best four hits in the game, and none was bigger than the rally-starting infield single.
"Just whatever I could do to start that inning," Zunino said. "I was just trying to get on base and I had two strikes on me, so I was just trying to put the ball in play. And luckily I was able to beat it out."
The Yankees had no argument with the decision.
"The replay is what it is," said Sabathia. "He was safe."