After a review, Thole has first homer of 2016

After a review, Thole has first homer of 2016

ST. PETERSBURG -- Toronto's Josh Thole hit his first home run in almost three years on Monday night, but he needed a little help from instant replay before it became official.

With one out in the third inning of the Blue Jays' 5-3 win, Thole lifted a sharp liner to the gap in right-center. The ball was in the vicinity of the top of the wall when a fan reached out and made the catch.

Second-base umpire Laz Diaz immediately signalled fan interference, and Thole was awarded a ground-rule double. Manager John Gibbons asked the umpiring crew to take a closer look, and following a brief review, the call was overturned and Thole had his homer.

"I was elated for him," knuckleballer R.A. Dickey said. "It was great, because the thing about him, he is so good behind the plate for me, and that's so exhausting what he has to go through game after game when he's catching me, it's just nice to see him connect on a ball like that."

The call was overturned because when the fan's glove made contact with the ball, it appeared to be over the wall. The homer tied the score at 1 and got the Blue Jays back on even footing after Dickey had surrendered a homer in the second.

It was Thole's second home run in a Blue Jays uniform and his first since Aug. 21, 2013, against the Yankees. He's never going to be known as a power hitter, but he did spend a lot of time during the offseason and this spring trying to add some power to his stance, and for at least one day, the reward was evident.

"It means a ton," said Thole, a career .249 hitter in 428 games. "Any time you get an opportunity to help the team, playing every fifth day in my role, you have to come to the yard on the day that I start, hoping to do something big."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.