By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – If any Detroit Tigers doubted the benefits of expanded instant replay, they had reason to become believers Wednesday. Umpires reviewed two calls in Detroit’s afternoon game against the Kansas City Royals, including one call in the 10th inning.
Both calls were overturned, and both helped the Tigers.
The starting pitchers of both clubs pitched well and deep into the game, Max Scherzer for Detroit and Jason Vargas for Kansas City. Tigers closer Joe Nathan gave up a run in the top of the ninth, however, and the game went to extra innings.
The Royals had two outs and a man on second in the top of the 10th when umpires ruled that Kansas City’s Norichika Aoki had beat out the throw to first base. Upon review, Aoki was ruled out, ending the top of the inning.
The ruling made first-time major league manager Brad Ausmus 2-for-2 for the day on challenges.
“Because we were successful in the first challenge, we still had a remaining challenge, and we had to use it, so after the seventh inning, I just figured, even if there’s a 50-50 chance of getting it right, you might as well use it because the umpires can check them after that anyway,” Ausmus said.
The other replay came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when umpires initially ruled Detroit’s Tyler Collins out at first base, giving the Royals a 4-6-3 double play. The call at first was close, however, and Ausmus charged onto the field toward first base to challenge the call. After a three-minute delay, the call was overturned.
Instead of having Cabrera at the plate with two outs and one man on base, the Tigers had Cabrera at the plate with two men on base and one out. It ended up being a scoreless inning regardless, but the challenge and subsequent changing of the call marked a solid start to the era of expanded instant replay for the Tigers.
Just as Ausmus had predicted a few days earlier, the ability to challenge a call stopped him from arguing with the umpires.
“It’s almost awkward when you go out there because, for instance, the first one, normally I guess a manager would go out there and scream and yell, but it doesn’t make sense to go out there and scream and yell if they know you have a challenge,” Ausmus said, “so in essence, I’m really just taking my time getting out there so that we can get a determination in our video room as to whether we should use the challenge.
“I get out there, and I really don’t have much to say,” Ausmus added.