Tigers benefit from strange play against Yankees

Tigers benefit from strange play against Yankees

Tigers benefit from strange play against Yankees
DETROIT -- Had Detroit maintained the slim lead it held from the fourth inning to the eighth during a 4-3 loss Thursday, the story would not have centered around relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit's issues. It would have been about a curious play in the fourth inning.

With the game knotted at 2, Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks hit a bloop double that just caught the outer edge of the left-field line and rolled under left fielder Raul Ibanez's glove. Third-base umpire Tim Welke initially put his hands up -- signaling foul ball -- before quickly changing his mind and calling it fair. The play allowed Quintin Berry to score the go-ahead run from first base.

"It was unique to say the least," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after the game.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi left the dugout to argue and put on an entertaining show for the sellout crowd of 40,940 at Comerica Park.

A screaming Girardi went chest to chest with Welke for a few minutes before eventually being ejected. On his way off the field and back to the clubhouse, Girardi threw his hands up in the air, imitating Welke's original call.

"These are important games," Girardi said. "When an umpire clearly makes a wrong call and it costs us, what you think? I'm going to sit on my hands? Come on."

The skipper was still steaming after the game, even with the Yankees' victory.

"It changes the complexion of the game," Girardi said. "I'm going to get a fine for them making a mistake. That's frustrating to me."

Girardi believed Ibanez misplayed the ball because of Welke's first signal. Welke said after reviewing the play, it was clear to him it had no effect on the game.

"I started to put my hands up in the air -- I was a little quick -- then I saw the ball hit the chalk line and I pointed fair about three times," Welke told a pool reporter.

"I've watched the replay, and I don't think there was any impact on the outfielder. I don't think Ibanez ever even saw me. We got the call right."

The person most affected by the play actually might have been Berry.

Berry sprinted around second and was preparing to head home when he hesitated upon seeing Welke's hands in the air. Fortunately for the Tigers, he quickly realized what happened and continued to score the run.

"I thought it was foul. When he threw his hands up I thought that might be what he was throwing his hands up for," Berry said. "I was kind of startled for a second, then saw him point in. So I took off again.

"I just saw the ball land on the line and the umpire throw his hands up. I didn't know what the call was ... But it ended up working out for us at the time."