Big League Stew - MLB

Tuesday's Minnesota Twins-Detroit Tigers tiebreaker featured a lot of classic plays, but that doesn't mean it didn't contain at least one controversy to digest the next day.

In the top of the 12th, a pitch from Minnesota's Bobby Keppel(notes) came inside on Detroit's Brandon Inge(notes) and it buzzed so close that it looked the ball had brushed against Inge's jersey.

With the bases loaded, a hit by pitch ruling would have given the Tigers a one-run lead and the chance for more in the incredibly tight game, but home plate umpire Randy Marsh said he didn't see any contact and simply called it a ball.

Inge and manager Jim Leyland immediately protested, but to no avail. Inge's at-bat continued and then ended with a fielder's choice that forced Miguel Cabrera(notes) out at home for the second out. The Twins went onto win the game 6-5 in the bottom of the inning.

Looking at the video replay of the pitch, I think it would have been hard to make a definitive call from where Marsh was standing — credit Inge for quickly trying to make up his mind — but the umpire later told a pool reporter that he "did not have the ball hitting him." 

Inge and Leyland saw it differently, though both stressed they didn't want their objection to come off as sour grapes following a game that will go down as an all-timer.  


Inge: "I want a hit as much as the next guy, but when it's that important, it hit my shirt. I'm not going to lie. It hit my shirt, period. I don't lie about things like that. I'm not going to try to weasel my way on base." 

Leyland: "I asked Randy right away if he could ask the second-base umpire, and he said no, definitely not. That's his call. I understand that. That's hard to put that on a second-base umpire to make that call.

"I don't know if the second-base umpire saw it or not. But there was no doubt in [Marsh's] mind, and the replay kind of confirms that it did hit him."

If there's anyone who knows anything about being hit by pitches, it's Inge. Had Marsh given him first base, the Tigers' third baseman would have finished the season tied for the the MLB lead at 18 with Cleveland's Kelly Shoppach(notes).

But it simply wasn't to be. Up until that point, the Internet chatter had alternated between Tigers and Twins fans complaining over what they felt was a rather inconsistent strike zone.

After Inge was hit (or not hit, depending on your view), the Tigers gained the edge in a category — blown calls — they would have preferred not to lead.  

Did Keppel's pitch hit Inge? Did Marsh make the wrong call? 

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