A blown call by a home-plate umpire didn’t just cost the Boston Red Sox a possible victory Monday night, it cost them first place in the American League East Division.
The Tampa Bay Rays won 2-1, but, as everyone but the ump could see, the Red Sox clearly scored a run in the eighth inning. Jerry Meals ruled that Daniel Nava was out, though, and the Red Sox went on to lose, falling a half-game behind the Rays.
“There was no doubt,” said Nava, who was running on a sacrifice fly. “I knew I was safe.”
Dustin Pedroia thought so: “He was safe.”
So did Red Sox Manager John Farrell, who said, “Nava clearly was safe.” Never mind that Nava should have scored on the previous at-bat. Farrell was steamed and had other words for the play at the plate, magic words that earned him a trip to the showers.
After the game, Meals admitted that he blew the call. “What I saw was: [catcher Jose] Molina blocked the plate and Nava’s foot lifted,” he told a pool reporter for the Associated Press. “But in the replays, you could clearly see Nava’s foot got under for a split second and then lifted, so I was wrong on my decision. From the angle I had, I did not see his foot get under Molina’s shin guard.”