After a Controversial Call, Orioles Wind Up Winning
CLEVELAND, April 28 — Ed Montague descended into the home dugout at Jacobs Field, his decision final. As the crew chief of Saturday night’s bizarre, 7-4 Baltimore Orioles victory over the Cleveland Indians, it was his responsibility to make this call.
As the game was being played on the field, Montague dialed the official scorer from the dugout phone in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Orioles had scrambled to find the rules, Montague had conferred with both managers, and another umpire had reviewed a replay. His decision: Grant the Orioles a run that had been waved off three innings earlier, giving them the lead in what became, eventually, a win that snapped a five-game losing streak.
Well, for now, anyway — Cleveland Manager Eric Wedge placed the game under protest. He believed once the next pitch was thrown after the run was waved off, the call should have been final. Not Montague.
“All in all, it was our screw-up,” Montague said. “I can’t take away a run on our screw-up. What’s right is right. We have to score the run.”
One of the strangest plays in team history would have been largely irrelevant had Corey Patterson not won the game in the eighth inning. He came to the plate with two runners on and the Orioles trailing, despite the reversal, 4-3. Patterson laced a pitch from Aaron Fultz to right field for a double, which scored Miguel Tejada and Jay Payton to give the Orioles the lead, which their struggling bullpen locked down.
Clutch as Patterson’s hit was, the contest will be remembered for one play and, more so, its aftermath.
In the third inning, with Tejada on first and Markakis on third, Ramon Hernandez lofted a fly ball to shallow center. Grady Sizemore chased it down, dived and made a headfirst, sliding catch.
Tejada wheeled around second base and kept sprinting, because he thought there were two outs and Sizemore had dropped the ball. “I was flying,” Tejada said.
Markakis jogged in from third base, crossing home plate well before Sizemore’s throw reached first base to double off Tejada. Home plate umpire Marvin Hudson nullified the run, waving his arms.
In the Orioles dugout, bench coach Tom Trebelhorn stewed, because he had seen this before, when he managed the Brewers nearly 20 years ago. He didn’t know the exact rule, but he thought to himself, “That run should count.”
Trebelhorn ambled out of the Orioles dugout and told Hudson just that. Hudson relayed Trebelhorn’s concern to Montague, and they spoke. As Trebelhorn walked off the field, he read Montague’s lips. “It’s too late,” he said to Hudson. But Trebelhorn had managed games when teams had been given runs after the game had ended. He found Manager Sam Perlozzo and told him, “Sammy, it’s never too late.”
Perlozzo spoke with Montague after the next inning, and Montague sought umpire Bill Miller. He told Miller to go into the um- pires’ locker room and check the rule. Montague thought Perlozzo’s argument was valid, but he wanted to ensure he was right.
“If it’s 100 percent,” Montague said, “I will change it.”
Eventually, Miller returned. His message to Montague: “It was 100 percent.”
After the top half of the sixth, Montague talked with Wedge, then went into the home dugout to call the official scorer. The run, which had crossed home plate three innings before, would be put on the scoreboard.
Without any explanation over the loudspeaker, in the bottom of the sixth, the ‘2’ changed to a ‘3’ in the Orioles’ run column, and a tie game changed to an Orioles lead.