Play at plate overturned on collision rule
Originally called out, Arenado scores after Ruiz blocked home plate
DENVER -- The Rockies were first on the scoreboard in Saturday night's game vs. the Phillies, thanks to a crew chief review on a close play at the plate.
In the bottom of the third, Nolan Arenado led off the inning and extended his hitting streak to match a career-high 10 games with a single to center.
The next batter, DJ LeMahieu, singled to left and Arenado came around from first attempting to score on the play. Left fielder Domonic Brown fired to second baseman Chase Utley who made a pinpoint throw to catcher Carlos Ruiz for a bang-bang play as Arenado slid and hooked his left leg in between Ruiz's legs as the catcher turned to make the tag.
Home plate umpire Tim Welke called Arenado out, and Arendao immediately popped up to protest. Replays available in the stadium were not conclusive on the close play, with differing angles suggesting different outcomes.
"I thought my foot got through his legs, so that's why I thought I was safe," Arenado said. "I wasn't thinking about how he was blocking the plate, I just thought I got through. I apologized because I almost went after him. I kind of bumped into him on accident. I was apologizing as I was yelling at him. He was really cool about it."
Rockies manager Walt Weiss came out of the dugout to give Welke his perspective. Thinking it was a case of the plate being inappropriately blocked under the terms of the new collision rule, 7.13, Weiss didn't need to challenge the play, but knew he could instead ask for a crew chief review.
"It looked like from the dugout that the plate might have been blocked," Weiss said. "It's a tough rule. It's a tricky rule. Maybe it's open to interpretation a little bit. But that's how I saw it and that's what I said to Tim Welke. I thought the pathway of the runner was blocked."
The umpires left the field, and the call was reversed. Arenado was ruled safe, giving the Rockies a 1-0 lead in the third.
"The umpire said I was out on the tag, but I was safe on the blocking the plate," Arenado said. "He made the right call."
Based on the new collision rule, Ruiz was ruled to have blocked the plate prior to receiving the ball. The play marks the first time the collision rule has been used in a Rockies game, but it was the second time in five days the Phillies have lost out on the call.
Earlier in the week, John Mayberry Jr. was called out at the plate in a similar play against the Marlins, and when Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg asked for a review, the play stood, costing the Phillies a run. Against the Rockies, the play was reversed, and the Phillies yielded a run to Colorado.
"[Welke] came over and explained the play, and I said, 'Wait a minute, we've had two plays go against us," Sandberg said. "We have to get some consistency with the calls at home plate. There are two against us, two different interpretations of the same exact play in a five-day period. Both against us.'"
Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's Vice President of Baseball Operations, called the Phillies after the Marlins incident and acknowledged the call should have been overturned.
The run gave the Rockies momentum, and they never relinquished it, building a 3-0 lead before letting an unearned run across in the eighth inning.
"It makes a huge difference," Arenado said of the run scored as a result of the review. "That would be an out most of the time. I thought it was right away. It's amazing how that one rule changes the game.
"Fortunately enough, it benefitted us. I guess when you're on the other side of it, it probably rubs you the wrong way a little bit, like it probably rubbed them. It's a crazy rule. It almost doesn't seem like it makes sense. But at the same time, it's part of the game now."