The Milwaukee Brewers escaped Citizens Bank Park on Saturday with a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, but that outcome may not have been possible without the aid of yet another awful, game-changing call during the ninth inning.
It happened with pitcher Kyle Kendrick on second base pinch-running for the ailing Jimmy Rollins. Rollins had singled with no outs immediately following Freddy Galvas' home run that cut the lead to one. Kendrick was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, meaning there was one out at the time of controversial play.
As Kendrick took his lead before Francisco Rodriguez's 1-1 pitch to Cesar Hernandez, the reliever known as "K-Rod" spun around and threw somewhat sloppily to the bag, but in plenty of time to get the napping Kendrick. The problem is (or should have been) the throw forced the covering Jean Segura to dive to flag it down. To his credit, Segura did indeed flag it down, but he was unable to catch it cleanly before applying what would have been a spectacular sprawling tag.
However, in a very fortunate bounce (or roll), the baseball, which had been hidden from the view of second base umpire Mike Estabrook, rolled right into Segura's bare hand just as he turned over. Under the impression that Segura possessed the ball the entire time, Estabrook very quickly — and still very incorrectly — ruled Kendrick out.
You'll never guess what happened immediately following the blown call. Or maybe you will. Hernandez doubled to right field for what would have been the game-tying hit. Instead, thanks to Estabrook's call, he's at second with two outs. The Brewers then elected to pass on Dominic Brown, which is a wonderful idea considering his recent power surge, and then Rodriguez got Michael Martinez to ground to shortstop to end it.
That's a pretty remarkable string of events that had to be infuriating to the Phillies, and just as infuriating to those who have been calling for instant replay. You have to admit, a missed call like this one is pretty much the perfect example of why it would be useful in a greater capacity. This is a ridiculously easy call to overturn. It would take literally five seconds to look at it, see the ball on the ground and then make the ruling. Then you carry on without the game being altered in any significant way.
I see both sides of the argument for replay. I really do. There are plenty of reasonable reasons to not want it fully instituted, but a call like the one blown by Mike Estabrook on Saturday can tip the scales in the other direction pretty quickly.