LOS ANGELES -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus brought a defensive coordinator onto his staff last fall to help him make the most of his replay challenges, and they had relative success for the first week of the season. On Tuesday, however, Ausmus admittedly threw up the replay equivalent of a Hail Mary.
After a potential go-ahead run was thrown out at second base for the final out in the ninth inning, with Victor Martinez caught stealing following his game-tying single off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, Ausmus still had his challenge left. So he essentially took a shot.
"I was kind of grasping at straws, hoping that somehow he was safe," Ausmus said after the Tigers' 3-2 loss in 10 innings.
Umpires can put a play up for review at their discretion from the sixth inning on, but managers can also use a challenge if they still have it. Given the situation, with the potential go-ahead run on base and Austin Jackson at the plate, Ausmus took the chance.
Replay confirmed the out, with second baseman Dee Gordon's tag reaching Martinez before he could get to the bag.
The review came as the Dodgers were entering the dugout for the bottom of the ninth inning, leaving the unusual scene of an empty field while crew chief Tom Hallion was in contact with the replay headquarters in New York. By rule, a manager must be on the field to notify the umpiring crew that he's contemplating a challenge within 10 seconds from a third out call.
That time constraint, he said, played a factor.
"That being the third out, you're supposed to get out there quickly," Ausmus explained. "There's nothing for me to lose by challenging. I might as well just challenge, because at that point, even if I'm wrong, now [umpires] can review anything anyway."
The replay was the first such call for the Tigers on the road after a week of familiar surroundings at home. The replay room on the visiting side of Dodger Stadium is positioned just off the dugout, allowing for a quick relay if needed. In this case, it was moot.