DETROIT — The throw to second base was there. The shortstop was incensed by the safe call when he tagged the runner out. The umpire authoritatively ruled the runner had safely reached the bag.
Without what he believed was proper evidence from his dugout until it was too late, White Sox manager Robin Ventura elected not to challenge the definitive play in a 2-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Friday afternoon.
Two batters after Nick Castellanos was ruled safe at second base -- though the Detroit Fox Sports feed appeared to show Alexei Ramirez tagged him out -- Jose Iglesias singled through a drawn-in infield to give the Tigers a walkoff victory. The loss, their second straight, dropped the White Sox to 3-6.
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“They said (Ramirez) missed him,” Ventura said of his video crew. “I wish I could actually watch it. You have to go with what your guys are going with. You could just go out and challenge it anyway, but when you get a ‘He missed him,’ you don’t challenge it.”
“You think about doing it anyway if you get a maybe. Yeah you think about doing it. I didn’t even get a maybe.”
There’s no uncertainty in the mind of Ramirez.
After Avisail Garcia -- who provided the White Sox only run with a fourth-inning solo homer -- overran the ball hit by Castellanos, he quickly picked it up and fired a strike to second. Ramirez cleanly fielded the ball and tagged the runner’s foot before swiping his glove out of the way.
While local broadcast feeds reportedly didn’t have the correct angle, Ramirez had no doubt second-base ump Brian O’Nora’s safe call was incorrect.
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“He just missed the play,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “I am sure that I tagged him, and I think he was in the wrong spot to see the play. For me it is clear, and I feel it. I tagged him.”
Not surprisingly, Castellanos believes O’Nora made the correct call.
“A lot of umpires, if the ball beats you there, they’ll take it for granted, and call you out,” Castellanos told local reporters. “The ball beat me there, but again, like I said, I didn’t feel a tag. So when he called me safe, I was really thrilled that he stuck with the play.”
Ventura stepped out of the dugout, waited for a sign on whether or not to challenge, and returned when he wasn’t given any indication to push for a replay. Seconds later, and apparently after pinch-runner Andrew Romine already had been announced, Ventura emerged from the dugout again. He headed to first base to speak with crew chief Jeff Kellogg and was informed the time to request a challenge had expired, that the play had been ruled over, a team official said.
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Even though he understood that the White Sox didn’t feel they had the proper evidence for an overturn, Ramirez was surprised the play wasn’t challenged.
“We were in the ninth inning -- you have to review the play,” Ramirez said. “I think that maybe they missed the play the first time on the video, but I am 100 percent I tagged him. If you are going to lose, you don’t want to lose in this way.”
Tigers catcher Alex Avila then bunted Romine to third on the first pitch from Duke to set up Igelsias’ heroics. Only one inning after the end of a pitching spectacle between Jeff Samardzija and David Price, the White Sox were handed another tough loss.
“You wish you can get those,” Ventura said. “But if we are only going to score a run, it’s going to be tough.”