Fourth replay magnified in Angels-Blue Jays finale
Toronto loses challenge as Trout beats throw to first before Pujols' decisive blast
ANAHEIM -- There were three replay reviews within the first three innings of the finale between the Blue Jays and Angels at Angel Stadium on Wednesday, including two initiated by crew chief Brian Gorman, and a fourth review in the seventh proved to be a key decision in the Angels' come-from-behind 8-7 victory.
The Blue Jays were unsuccessful when they decided to challenge a call at first base in the seventh inning. With a runner on first base and no outs, Angels All-Star Mike Trout grounded into a fielder's choice to second base, but Toronto manager John Gibbons was hoping for more as he looked for the out call at first as well when Munenori Kawasaki threw to Jose Bautista for a potential double play.
Trout was initially called safe at first, and replays confirmed the call. Immediately following the review, Albert Pujols came to the plate and hit what proved to be the decisive home run, a two-run shot off left-hander Aaron Loup, to give the Angels the 8-7 advantage. Had Trout not beaten the throw to first base, the home run would have only tied the game.
"We almost turned one hell of a double play on Trout, and then, of course, Pujols did his thing," Gibbons said. "That's what the big boys do, stars do that. You look at the top of that lineup, it's a tough lineup."
In the first inning of a scoreless game, Toronto's Steve Tolleson hit a sharp grounder to third baseman David Freese. Jose Reyes was on second base at the time, and he advanced to third when Freese threw to first baseman C.J. Cron to get Tolleson.
Attempting to get Reyes at third, Cron made a throw that sailed well wide of the bag and got away from shortstop Erick Aybar, who was covering. Reyes then tried to score, but the ball took a friendly Angels bounce off the wall, and Aybar made a strong throw to the plate.
The play seemed to catch Reyes off guard as he ran home but didn't slide. Catcher Hank Conger received the ball and tried to make a tag on Reyes, who was called out by home-plate umpire Jim Wolf.
The umpires initiated a crew chief review to determine the potential violation of Rule 7.13, prohibiting egregious collisions at home plate. After the review, the call was ruled to stand, which cost Toronto the game's first run off Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson.
After the game, Gibbons wasn't upset about the replay decision but was unhappy that Melky Cabrera didn't tell Reyes to slide from the on-deck circle.
"Stupid play in the first inning. We don't tell the guy to slide, lose by one run," Gibbons said in brutally honest fashion. "You have to be into the game, you have to pay attention, that's the way it goes. The guy has to be over there going, Get down!'
"The [runner] doesn't see what's going on. Little things like that. We've lost a lot of one-run games, stupid stuff, not making a routine play or something stupid. That's cost us way too many times."
In the top of the third inning, Cabrera was ruled out at first base after a video review overturned the call on the field.
With the Blue Jays trailing, 2-0, runners on second and third and one out, Cabrera shot a ball down the third-base line to Freese, who gathered, looked the runners back to the bases and soared a high throw to first, where Cron jumped to snag the ball and landed on the base.
After first-base umpire Gorman initially ruled that Cabrera beat Cron's foot to the bag, replays showed Cron's cleat hitting the bag before Cabrera's did. Angels manager Mike Scioscia came out to challenge the play, and after review, Cabrera was ruled out.
The Blue Jays then scored their first run of the game on a bases-loaded walk to Nolan Reimold, making it 2-1.
In the bottom of the third, with the Angels leading, 2-1, a second crew chief review was initiated when Trout, who had singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch, attempted to score on Pujols' single. Trout was called out on center fielder Cabrera's throw home to catcher Erik Kratz, who applied the tag.
The umpires convened to again determine if Rule 7.13 was violated, but the call was confirmed after review.
The Angels later made it 3-1 on Josh Hamilton's single, which plated Pujols, who had advanced to second when Trout attempted to score.
Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. Matthew DeFranks is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MDeFranks. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.