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Rangers drop series to A's on walk-off single

@goodforball
April 24, 2019

OAKLAND -- Next time Chris Woodward is urged to request a video replay despite unseen evidence, he’ll order it immediately and ask questions later. Woodward, who’s in his first year as the Rangers’ manager, was denied an opportunity to contest an umpiring decision in the ninth inning of Oakland’s 6-5

OAKLAND -- Next time Chris Woodward is urged to request a video replay despite unseen evidence, he’ll order it immediately and ask questions later.

Woodward, who’s in his first year as the Rangers’ manager, was denied an opportunity to contest an umpiring decision in the ninth inning of Oakland’s 6-5 victory on Wednesday afternoon. Umpires said that Woodward didn’t ask for a review quickly enough.

Woodward wanted a ruling on an inning-ending double play. The Rangers’ replay staff advised him that A’s second baseman Jurickson Profar did not keep his foot on the bag long enough to retire baserunner Hunter Pence for the first out of the double play. Had Woodward successfully challenged the call, Texas would have had runners at second and third with two outs in a 5-5 tie.

Instead, Woodward didn’t even receive a chance to have his say in video court, freeing the A’s to break the deadlock in their half of the inning. Stephen Piscotty singled with one out against Texas reliever Chris Martin (0-2). After Khris Davis flied out, Piscotty stole second base, placing himself in position for Chad Pinder’s first career walk-off hit.

The A’s swept the three-game series, improving their home record against Texas to 18-4 since the beginning of the 2017 season.

Woodward surely would have beckoned for an umpire had he seen what unfolded at second base. But from his field-level vantage point in the dugout, he had no idea what had transpired.

Woodward believed that he still had time to notify the umpires for a review.

“Ever since replay has come into the league, they’ve always given me the leeway,” Woodward said. “If it was a close play at first base, obviously I would have had my hand up right away, always.”

Then Woodward articulated what this game had seared into his mind.

“I think it’s just a good lesson for me personally -- any play, even if it’s a fly ball to the outfield, any play, just put your hand out [to request the 30-second period to determine whether to order a replay]. It’s frustrating because the reason replay is in place is to get it right.”

And Woodward thought that, despite the slight delay, he made his request in timely fashion.

“We looked on the replay; we counted. It was within 10 seconds that I motioned to them, ‘Hey, we might want to look at this.’ … I guess if you don’t put it up right away, they have the authority to not let you challenge. My argument was, it’s too important. It was the ninth inning.”

Pitching depth also presented a challenge to Woodward, who decided during the game that he would install right-hander Adrian Sampson, the scheduled starting pitcher for Thursday’s series opener at Seattle, in an attempt to consume innings. Sampson began the sixth inning and indeed saved the bullpen by surrendering one hit in three shutout innings.

Right-hander Kyle Dowdy, making his first Major League start, lasted three innings and yielded three runs, all on Marcus Semien’s second-inning homer.

What’s next for Dowdy?

“I just want to pitch, I don’t care what role they have me in,” he said. “Whatever the team needs, that’s what I want to fulfill.”

Needing a starter for Thursday, the Rangers recalled left-hander Taylor Hearn from Triple-A Nashville. Right-hander Wei-Chieh Huang was optioned to Triple-A.

Hearn, a 24-year-old who hails from Royce City, Texas, is 1-3 with a 4.05 ERA for Nashville. He’s ranked No. 11 on MLB Pipeline’s list of the organization’s top 30 prospects.

“He has elite, overpowering stuff,” Woodward said.

Chris Haft has covered the Major Leagues since 1991 and has worked for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @goodforball.