Monday night's Tampa Bay Rays-Boston Red Sox game was something else — it included a blown call that changed the outcome of the game, a call which umpire Jerry Meals later admitted he botched. The win pushed the Rays past the Red Sox in the standings and into first place in the AL East. It also set off an entertaining Twitter trash-talking session between the two teams. Let's break this down:
THE CALL: The Rays were clutching a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Red Sox had runners at second and third with one out and Brandon Snyder batting. Snyder lifted a fly ball into left-center field. Sam Fuld of the Rays threw a dart to home plate trying to prevent tagging-up pinch runner Daniel Nava from tying the game. Nava looked to beat the throw, but Meals called him out. Instead of a 2-2 game, we got an inning-ending double play. Upon further review, though, you'll see that Nava was clearly safe.
THE AFTERMATH: Red Sox manager John Farrell came out to argue the call and was ejected by Seals soon after. If you listen close, you can hear Fenway Park fans yelling "safe! safe!" while the Rays excitedly left the field and the Red Sox fumed.
The Rays went on to shut down the Red Sox in the ninth and hold on to the 2-1 win, a win that flip-flopped the two teams in the AL East standings. The Rays had been in first Friday and Saturday, then the Red Sox re-took the top spot on Sunday. Now the Rays have it again, as the two team go their separate ways.
After his ejection, Farrell told reporters:
''It was a missed call, a terrible call. Clearly the angle of Jerry Meals behind the plate, he did not see the view, Daniel Nava clearly was safe. We should still be playing right now.''
ADMITTING IT: After the game, Meals owned up to things, admitting he was wrong and that a different angle showed Nava was safe. From MLB.com:
"What I saw was: Molina blocked the plate and Nava's foot lifted," Meals said to a pool reporter. "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."
Don't worry @raysbaseball we look forward to seeing you in Tampa in September for our home games at the Trop.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 30, 2013
THE UPSHOT? Well, the call was wrong and the Rays win is asterisk-worthy, but there are a few positives here: (1) This can only make the clash between these two teams more interesting down the stretch, since they look to be the main contenders for the AL East. (2) It's another reason for instant replay supporters to say "I told you so." (3) No phones were damaged — well, at least none that we know about.