Replay confirms difference-making legal slide

Replay confirms difference-making legal slide

MIAMI -- All parties agree the slide was hard and clean. The confusion came on whether Kevin Kiermaier interfered with Dee Gordon's ability to throw the ball.

After a critical review in the seventh inning on Monday, the call on the field was confirmed that Kiermaier was not in violation of Rule 6.01(j). The decision allowed the go-ahead run to score, and the Rays went on to defeat the Marlins, 4-2, in the Citrus Series opener at Marlins Park.

The Marlins challenged the play, and if the call was overturned, it would have resulted in an inning-ending double play, preserving a 2-2 score at the time.

"I slid, and I just popped up and he was right there and all of his body weight," Kiermaier said. "He, you know I like Dee, he's such a light guy -- I didn't even feel him pretty much when he was on my shoulder. I just popped up and his gravity, I don't know, something, he was just laying on me. I just put my hands up like I'm not doing anything wrong. I'm glad that didn't get overturned. I would have been livid."

The Marlins challenged because they were questioning if Kiermaier rising prevented Gordon from throwing to first.

"It looked like the slide itself, he hits the ground fine, but when he stands up, that's when Dee can't throw," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We think, from the standup side of it, he really can't finish his throw. He can't throw it."

MLB rule 6.01(j) deals with what constitutes a legal slide. The review lasted 2 minutes, 59 seconds before the call on the field was confirmed.

"He wasn't turning the double play," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I'm glad K.K. did everything right on the slide. Very confident [Steven] Souza [Jr.] was going to beat the throw down there. He gets down the line quick. ... It's so easy with the new rules to come off the bag or do something that they find is incorrect, and he didn't."

The Rays loaded the bases with one out against Brad Ziegler when Souza chopped a slow grounder to third. Kiermaier, who walked as a pinch-hitter, went in hard to break up a potential double play.

Martin Prado, drifting toward second, threw to Gordon for what would have been a tough-to-turn 5-4-3 double play. Gordon secured the force at second but held onto the ball, as Souza reached safely with an RBI fielder's choice grounder.

"I'm totally not clear on the rule," Gordon said. "I just play. I didn't have a problem with that slide at all. I just tried to hold onto the ball and make sure -- after contact -- I didn't drop it and the next run could score."

Ziegler also had no problem with the call.

"I didn't think anything was wrong with the slide," Ziegler said. "I don't know that rule that well. It looked like pretty good, hard baseball to me."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.