Leyland goes off on umpires for missed strikeout call

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Leyland goes off on umpires for missed strikeout call

One call in the second inning may have changed the whole game for the Detroit Tigers Monday and manager Jim Leyland wasn't about to let it go.

With two outs and a runner on second, Mike Aviles had two strikes on him when he swung and missed at a pitch that Detroit catcher Gerald Laird appeared to have caught for a third strike.

Instead, home plate umpire Jeff Nelson ruled that the ball had struck the ground first, making it a foul ball. On appeal, first base umpire Bill Welke agreed.

The inning continued and the Sox added three runs while Leyland and third base coach Gene Lamont were ejected for arguing the call.

Welke later acknowledged that the umpires had made a mistake.

"What looks crystal clear (on video)," said Welke, "didn't look crystal clear from the first base line."

That didn't mollify Leyland.

"There shouldn't have been a second-inning rally," Leyland said. "I mean, there should not have been a second-inning rally. There's three outs. I've been in the game a long time; when a catcher catches the ball and it's strike three you call the guy out. It's that simple, isn't it?"

When Leyland was asked what explanation he received from the umpires, he launched into a rant.

"He said the ball hit the ground," said Leyland. "I'm sorry. I'm the most patient man in the world with umpires; protect them more than anybody. And I understand there's the human element involved in the game. But you're 120 feet away? I mean, you gotta be 110 percent sure. You can't be guessing at that call. That's that simple. I mean, come on."

And the more Leyland spoke, the angrier he became, turning his frustration toward the media.

"Was that a ridiculous call? Then write it that it was a expletive ridiculous call," he said, his voice rising. "Write that it was a expletive ridiculous call; not just a bad call, a maybe call, a expletive ridiculous call. Write the expletive thing. That's all. I protect them more than anybody; I'm not mad at the expletive umpires, but expletive it's a ridiculous expletive call, you saw it, you think it's a ridiculous call, write it, expletive I don't have to say it.

"I'm not a expletive writer, I'm a expletive manager."

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?