David Ortiz, Terry Francona Upset Over Blown Call That Ended Red Sox Rally in Loss to Orioles


David Ortiz, Terry Francona Upset Over Blown Call That Ended Red Sox Rally in Loss to Orioles BOSTON — The Red Sox have been in need of a big hit on so many occasions in recent weeks. In the fifth inning Monday against the Baltimore Orioles, they had three of them.

Wait, no, make that two. They had two of them, at least according to first base umpire Mike Estabrook, who was in the middle of what turned out to be the biggest play of a 6-5 loss to the O’s.

After Adrian Gonzalez doubled in a run to cut Baltimore's lead to 6-3 and Dustin Pedroia tripled in Gonzalez to make it 6-4, David Ortiz sent a rocket into the corner in right. Everyone surrounding the Pesky Pole raised their arms in triumph as the ball landed for what most figured was a run-scoring hit for Ortiz.

Estabrook raised his arms as well, the sign that the ball was foul. But it wasn't.

"No, I know it was [fair]. By about a foot and a half," said manager Terry Francona, who got Estabrook to seek help from the rest of his crew, to no avail.

During the argument, Boston pitching coach Curt Young raced on the field to tell Francona something, presumably that he had seen the replay, which showed the ball hitting fair on the short right-field wall.

"I know it's a tough corner. They can't get replay because it’s not a home run," Francona said. "I asked him, 'Can you ask everybody?' I told him, you hate to tell him, but the guys in the dugout they've already seen it so let’s get this call right. Wish they could've asked somebody else. They ran out of people to ask."

Ortiz was forced to return to home plate. After he flew out to deep center, the slugger slammed his helmet to the ground with both hands, a sure sign of the frustration building around the club. Ortiz initially stormed away from reporters in the clubhouse, but later returned and shed light on the play.

"I guess the reason why we have umpires down the line [in the postseason] is so they can read the ball better because from distance sometimes it gives you some trouble," he said. "That reviewing thing I think it was good for home runs and things like that but I guess a situation like what happened today you should give it a shot because we’re trying to win a baseball game and it’s not the right call."

The Red Sox went in order in three of the next four innings, making the end of that rally a particularly damaging one. That point was not lost on Ortiz, who felt that the call had a when-it-rains-it-pours feel to it.

"Yeah, when things are going bad, you know, this ball was like two feet inside the line and when a situation like that comes down, you go, 'Wow,'" Ortiz said. "You don't see umpires on a daily basis missing balls like that, by that much, but Fenway's a little complicated."

To his credit, Ortiz admitted that the team had other chances to right that wrong. Pedroia, who was eventually stranded on third, took the same approach.

"It's just a break in the game. They got it. That's basically it," Pedroia said. "We've played 100 and whatever games, we're not gonna say our season's over because an umpire missed a call. We’re better than that.

"Yeah, it's frustrating, it's another run, it's a big hit but it didn’t go our way."

That’s been the case quite often of late for the Red Sox.

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