Replay benefits Yanks; Gardenhire ejected
Morneau's first-inning homer overturned on review
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins first baseman Justin Morneau appeared to connect on a two-run homer in the first inning off Yankees ace CC Sabathia in the Twins' eventual 8-4 loss on Thursday, but it was overturned and ruled foul after an official review.
Morneau's blast with Joe Mauer on first base was originally ruled fair, but video replay apparently showed the ball was actually pulled just foul in front of the foul pole in right field, according to the umpires.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, however, disagreed with the decision, and was thrown out by home-plate umpire Brian O'Nora for arguing the call with first-base umpire Jim Wolf. He maintained after the game that the ball was fair, as he thought the replays were inconclusive and the home run should've stood.
"In my opinion, and this is what I told them: 'If one replay shows it could be fair and one replay shows it could be foul, and no one is really positive, how in the heck do you change it?'" Gardenhire said. "I don't get that. They told me they saw a view on TV. But I could show three views right here where the ball disappears behind the pole. It just depends on the camera angle."
It marked Gardenhire's fifth ejection of the season and the 59th of his career. He was last tossed on May 30 in Detroit, when he was thrown out for arguing a fan interference call with third-base umpire Gary Darling.
"I know I'm not allowed to argue, but I wanted to talk to Jim," Gardenhire said. "But once I started to head toward Wolfie, I knew I was ejected. But I was dejected before I was ejected, so I had to talk to him."
Morneau agreed with his manager, as he believed the ball was fair and should've been ruled a homer.
"I thought it went over the top of the foul pole and thought it was a home run," Morneau said. "The only replay I've looked at showed the ball disappearing behind the foul pole on the other side. I haven't seen the replay they saw that they said went in front of the foul pole, but I don't know. The only thing I saw was home run, but that's life."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi thought the ball was foul from his view in the visitor's dugout, and agreed with the decision to overturn the early home run.
"I'm not quite on the line, but I'm close to the line, and I saw a gap between the pole and the foul side, which led me to believe that it was a foul ball," Girardi said. "I saw the replay and it looked to me like a foul ball, to me, too."
Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, however, admitted that there really wasn't any conclusive evidence to prove whether it was a homer or not.
"I hit a couple of those a year where it's over the foul pole, and it always lands foul," Teixeira said. "So the more you look at it, the more you think it's foul, but it could've easily been fair. Who knows, but unless they have some sort of special replay where you can extend the foul pool, it's really just a guess. I wasn't surprised that they [orginally] called it fair, because it's really just a guess."
The overturned call came a day after the Yankees were burned in Kansas City on Billy Butler's third-inning homer that was reviewed but still upheld. The ball struck the top of the left-field wall, a section of railing that is still in play at the Kansas City ballpark, and bounced back on to the field.
Major League Baseball executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre said on Thursday that the disputed home run call in the Yankees-Royals game on Wednesday night was due to the umpire's misunderstanding of the ground rules at Kauffman Stadium.
"The way things kind of ended up last night, then that home run that Morneau hit, if it was fair, early in the game, it might be a different ballgame," Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher said. "But that's crazy, two replays in two days, that doesn't happen very often."