CINCINNATI -- There was a call overturned at Great American Ball Park on Wednesday night that required no video replay, just communication between all four umpires. A base hit that seemed to have been taken away from pitcher Aaron Harang was rightfully restored, which allowed a Reds rally to continue, although Cincinnati eventually fell to Los Angeles, 14-6, by the end of the night. In the bottom of the fourth inning against Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, Harang was batting with the bases loaded and two outs when he hit a hard, but low, liner to right field. Andre Ethier ran in for the catch attempt and trapped the ball in his glove as he fell to the grass.
However, first-base umpire and crew chief Tim McClelland immediately put his arm in the air and signaled the third out of the inning. "I was pretty upset when it happened. I didn't think he caught it," Harang said. "[First-base coach Billy] Hatcher was the same way." Never acting as if he got away with one, Ethier trotted off the field with the rest of the Dodgers. Reds manager Dusty Baker argued with McClelland, who walked away to consult with the rest of his crew. After several moments of consultation, McClelland told Dodgers manager Joe Torre and Baker that the play was ruled a single that scored Scott Rolen from third base to make it a 4-4 game. Although it looked like multiple runs might have scored on the play had it not been halted, only one run was permitted to cross after the reversal. "I called him out. We got together," McClelland said. "Through consultation, we determined that he didn't catch the ball. We got a directive that says we can place runners where we thought they would have been had the call been called accurately the first time. We put the runners at the bases." McClelland was actually citing Rule 902.c that, in part, gives umpires authority that includes "placing runners where they think those runners would have been after the play." "[McClelland] said he changed his mind, that he got it wrong," Torre said. "When he called me out and Dusty was with him, I knew it would be one of those arbitration deals. He ruled against us, but only gave them one run. I asked, 'What's the recourse if I don't agree?' He said, 'You don't have one.'" Harang, who had gone to the dugout to get ready to pitch the top of the fifth, returned to first base, and the Dodgers' defense was called back to the field to continue the inning. Kuroda was permitted to take some extra warmup pitches before play resumed. "Those guys are human," Harang said. "They just went over it, and one of the other guys must have seen it a little better. They discussed it, and it worked in our favor that time." Multiple angles of the play on television showed that Ethier had trapped the ball on one hop. But the use of instant replay by umpires is only permitted in the Major Leagues for disputed home run situations -- fair or foul, in or out of the ballpark and fan interference -- not judgment calls. "That was big on their part," Baker said of the umpires. "Usually, I've never seen a play overturned like that. The objective is to get the play right. From our vantage point, they got the play right. We were hoping that ball would get by him, and we'd get a lot of runs." The Reds were unable to capitalize on their good fortune as Chris Dickerson struck out and left the bases loaded.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.