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Disputed V-Mart HBP riles Leyland

Disputed V-Mart HBP riles Leyland

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Disputed V-Mart HBP riles Leyland
ARLINGTON -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland stomped out of the visitors' dugout in the third inning of Monday's 7-3 Rangers win in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, beckoning crew chief Tim Welke to hang around for a discussion.

Leyland had no issue with whether designated hitter Victor Martinez had been clipped by a pitch, as the umpires ruled. As he was earlier this season in a game against the Blue Jays, Leyland was upset with how the umpires had reached their decision.

"I'm going to explain the only reason I was upset," Leyland said. "I knew the ball hit him, OK? But it wasn't called. OK? He checked the ball for polish, and it wasn't called.

"The reason I was upset is ... I believe every manager in the league that goes out on a call like that and asks the umpire to get help, they tell you they can't get help on that. If somebody would have seen it, they come in right away to say they saw it, and they call it. Nobody moved. Nobody came in."

To rewind, Rangers left-hander Derek Holland was working with a 1-2 count to Martinez when a darting pitch disappeared into a small cloud of dust near the batter's right ankle.

Home-plate umpire Larry Vanover pointed toward first-base umpire Jim Wolf for clarification, and Martinez jogged down the line as though he had been hit by the pitch.

The ball bounced to the backstop, and catcher Mike Napoli jogged after the ball nonchalantly, believing that a hit by pitch had been called. But there was confusion about whether the call was actually made or if Vanover was looking for a check swing.

"I knew it hit him," Napoli said. "I didn't know if he swung or not because his head was down. But I knew the ball was dead once it hits him, so that's why I was pointing down to first. If he swings and it hits him, it's still a strike. That's why I kind of went after the ball."

Dancing off second base, Miguel Cabrera did not take any chances, pounding around third base and sliding home as Holland stretched his arms out to ask what was happening.

"You just never know what's going to happen," said Martinez, who indicated that the ball indeed hit him. "You take your chances."

Rangers manager Ron Washington immediately approached the umpires for clarification, and after a brief discussion that involved all members of the on-field crew, Cabrera was sent back to second base.

Leyland then pointed to Welke -- working right field on Monday -- and further discussed the ruling with the entire crew, creating a brief delay.

"My question to them was, 'Who saw it?'" Leyland said. "And if somebody saw it, why didn't they come in right away and call it? I wasn't questioning at all whether or not he got hit.

"I was questioning the process by which I've been told all year, and I assume every other manager has, that's normally one where they say, 'I can't get help on that one.'

"If somebody would have seen that, they come right in and call it right away. Yes, definitely, it hit him. I saw it, and nobody moved. That's the only reason I was upset about it. I knew the ball hit him."

Television replays seemed to show that the pitch at least hit Martinez's pants leg, meaning the umpires were correct in their ruling of a dead ball and the awarding of first base.

Leyland's display was reminiscent of a June 27 game at Comerica Park against Toronto in which the manager was ejected for arguing a call at first base on which Detroit's Andy Dirks was ruled safe on a sacrifice bunt before the call was reversed.

In that incident, first-base umpire Ed Rapuano consulted with home-plate umpire Alfonso Marquez. Leyland confirmed that Dirks was out on the play, but he was displeased by the method of confirmation, since Rapuano should have theoretically had the better view.

On Monday, Leyland chose his words carefully in a news conference, noting, "You always risk getting fined when you talk about this kind of stuff."

Cabrera's run ended up scoring a batter later anyway, as Ryan Raburn clubbed a three-run homer into the left-field seats off Holland, who was removed later in the three-run inning.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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