MIAMI -- The review was interminable. The outcome was unconscionable.
When crew chief Mike Winters shed the headset and signaled safe, that set off manager Mike Redmond into a justifiable cap-throwing, profanity-spewing boil. Instead of an inning-ending 9-2 double play and the Marlins taking a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth, the out call at the plate was overturned.
Not only did the Reds tie the game, they added two more on Ryan Ludwick's single and hung on to top the Marlins 3-1 in front of a livid Marlins Park crowd Thursday.
Though Giancarlo Stanton's textbook one-bounce throw from right field arrived well before the tagging of Zack Cosart, replay officials in New York determined catcher Jeff Mathis did not provide a lane to the plate. Cosart was within his right to bowl over Mathis, but instead sidestepped the contact and turned his palms upward as if asking "Where am I supposed to go?"
"I'm just disgusted," Mathis said. "That's a tough way to lose a game for it to be decided from going to such a high and guys doing what they're supposed to do, executing 1/8Bryan Morris3/8 on the mound making a good pitch, 1/8Stanton3/8 making a good throw and then for it to be decided like that is just disgusting."
The umpires reviewing plays back in New York bought it. After 6-minute, 10-second delay, they sent word to Winters, who ejected Redmond moments after he emerged. His jersey untucked, Redmond returned to the dugout looking like he'd just wrestled a gator.
"As a former catcher in this league for 13 seasons... to lose a ballgame tonight on that play is a joke," Redmond said. "It's an absolute joke. I don't think anybody who plays this game should feel good about winning that game, and I would say that if it had been reversed. That guy was out by 15 feet. It was a great baseball play. 1/8Stanton3/8 threw a strike to Matty. He didn't slide because he couldn't slide because he was out by so far, and yet those guys in New York decided the outcome of that game.
"I don't blame Mike Winters. He was on it. He knew the call on the field was right and he told me that when I was out there. As a manager you sit there and look your players in the face and my job is to pump these guys up and to keep these guys going every single day... to look them in the face and say we just lost a game on a technicality is bulls---, absolute bulls---."
Major League Baseball issued a statement after the game saying it was reviewing the play and would communicate with both clubs Friday.
Team President David Stanton entered the postgame interview room and said the Marlins didn't have recourse in terms of protesting. He offered this take: "It is a travesty that this game turns around because of a call that no one in baseball thinks should have been made except four guys in New York. You go around to any single umpire, he is absolutely out. The ball beat him by 10 feet and there is absolute zero excuse.
"It took six minutes for four umpires in New York to get it wrong and it cost us the game, and it's complete f------ bulls---."
Casey McGehee echoed those sentiments, adding: "It's a stupid-ass rule. I'll tell you that. I don't know what we're supposed to do. You have Morris come in and pitches his b---- off, you got 1/8Tom3/8 Koehler throwing a great game. Stanton makes a hell of a play in right field and all of a sudden we have a technicality, a rule we didn't agree on and we don't agree with. It's not baseball anymore. Next thing we know, we should put a line like co-ed softball and just run off to the side because you can't have contact in co-ed softball.
That's not the game we all grew up playing. It's a joke. We have guys getting punished for making great plays. If that same play happens at third base, at second base or first base, nobody says anything about it."
Making the loss sting all the more was that Koehler outpitched Reds' ace Johnny Cueto through seven innings. Cueto served up a solo homer to Stanton in the first and hung zeroes through the remainder of his outing. Koehler needed just 77 pitches to complete seven scoreless innings.
Koehler retired 12 of the first 13 batters he faced, the exception being Cueto, who reached on an infield hit with two outs in the third. The only Reds' hitter that got into scoring position off Koehler before the eighth was Brayan Pena. Koehler stranded him at second after his leadoff single in the fifth.
In the eighth, Cozart reached on what was ruled a Jordany Valdespin error. The second baseman sprinted back for a pop in short center and couldn't make the running catch. Two batters later with men on first and second, reliever Mike Dunn flubbed a Billy Hamilton sacrifice bunt, loading the bases with no out.
Morris struck out Kris Negron for the first out and appeared to disarm the threat on the Frazier fly ball to Stanton, whose first-inning homer off Cueto was the game's lone run to that point.
"To have a rule that could be interpreted 1/8that way3/8 and have a game taken right out from underneath us, it's sickening," Koehler said. "This is something we'll look back on and hopefully it will make us stronger as a team and bring us together, but I think there's going to be a lot of people that find it hard to sleep tonight. Hopefully it just makes us hungrier from here on out."
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