Tin-eared replay overturns Giants 9th-inning homer

Giants and visiting ballplayers know the rule: Any ball hit over the green tin in right field is a home run, said Matt Cain:

“I’ve had a lot that have gone over the tin that were homers…We know that if the ball hits off tin, it’s a homer.”

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at AT&T Park.

The Giants and Cardinals were justifiably shocked, then, when a four-minute replay review on Brandon Crawford’s ninth-inning, two-run home run was reversed, said Crawford:

“I’d love to see the camera angle they had. Every person at the ballpark saw it go out…The only other explanation was that it was a foul ball.”

The clubhouse following the Giants’ 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals was abuzz, loud interjections objecting to what some deemed the worst call they’ve ever seen. Given the team’s otherwise anemic offense, a correct call probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

Still, it was obvious the umpires in New York made a mistake. A fan reached behind the green tin and caught Crawford’s ball on the yellow line that sends the pole up. Crawford explained that for someone to really interfere with a ball hit there someone would have to be holding the fan’s feet.

Crawford said even Cardinals were shaking their heads, they know the rules here, the umpires even called it right on the field. Crawford took a few minutes as crew chief Mike Everitt pointed him back to second base and the fan walked out of the ballpark escorted, ejected for interference:

“It’s crazy that someone 3,000 miles away can make that call.”

The Giants went quietly into the loss after that, dugout still in shock. The game had been put away hours ago, anyway.

Cain left a two-strike curveball up for grabs to the eighth hitter, Randal Grichuk, who sent it flying into the smoky, hot air. But the ball needed no help, landing deep in left for a two-run homer.

Despite that mistake, in what may well be one of his final starts as a Giant at AT&T Park, Cain reprised his role as a hero, of sorts.

It started just a few hours before first pitch. Madison Bumgarner‘s flu had gotten worse. The coaches warned Cain Bumgarner could get scratched after yesterday’s game in San Diego, so he was at least mentally prepared.

Cain’s undoing didn’t come by his own hand. There would be no eight-run, five-hit meltdown innings like his previous one out of the bullpen back in Arizona. The Cardinals made hard contact, notched seven hits, but only crossed home against him on Grichuk’s long ball.

Buster Posey returned from his thumb injury and Bruce Bochy pushed Joe Panik up and Hunter Pence down the lineup for today’s game. He wanted to “switch it up” after his team averaged just 1.7 runs per game and hit just .121 with RISP on their road trip through Arizona and San Diego.

The switch up didn’t unscramble things. Brandon Crawford‘s double — his 19th base hit in the last 15 games — was the only hit the offense could manage until a mini-rally in the fifth. Pence hit a leadoff single and twisted out a run, tagging up third and scoring on a sac fly.

Mark Melancon — even if Crawford’s 13th homer wasn’t snatched out of his hands (or the fan’s)–essentially put the game away for the Cards after he walked in their fourth run and hit Tommy Pham to let in their fifth in the eighth inning. The two runs broke his six-inning scoreless streak since returning from the DL August 12.

Up next

Johnny Cueto makes his first start since July 14 Friday night. He went on the DL with blisters, originally, then extended his stay with a flexor tendon strain.


Shayna Rubin is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @ShaynaRubin on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.