SAN FRANCISCO -- A crew-chief review of an umpire's call in the seventh inning of Wednesday's game against the White Sox went the Giants' way, charging that Chicago catcher Tyler Flowers improperly blocked home plate.
The overturned call resulted in a run for the Giants that tied the score, 1-1, and prompted the ejection of White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who vehemently argued the revised decision.
Ventura might have been even angrier if he knew what would ensue. The Giants proceeded to score six runs with two outs, completing a seven-run uprising that hastened a 7-1 victory.
"It's a vague rule and it obviously went against us today," said Ventura, who received his 10th career ejection and third of the year. "You look at the spirit of the rule of what they're trying to do and what it's actually doing, and it's a joke."
With runners on the corners and one out, San Francisco's Joe Panik tapped a grounder to first baseman Jose Abreu, who quickly threw home. Pinch-runner Gregor Blanco was plainly thrown out, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy requested the review on the basis that Flowers denied Blanco a sufficiently clear path to the plate as he awaited Abreu's throw.
Analysis of video replays backed Bochy. As crew chief Fieldin Culbreth made the "safe" motion after a review of four minutes, 55 seconds, the AT&T Park crowd exploded with cheers and an enraged Ventura sprang from the visitors' dugout, jawing with Culbreth and kicking dirt several times on home plate.
Said Flowers, "If you go by the black-and-white rule, I guess they got it right. But you also got to put into context. ... I could go on for a while."
Coincidentally, Ventura asked for a play at the plate to be reviewed for the same reason in Tuesday night's 10th inning. In that sequence, Giants catcher Buster Posey tagged out Jordan Danks, who tried to score from third base on an infield grounder. The ruling stood as called.
"I know the rule has created a lot of controversy, and they've talked about reviewing it at the end of the season," Bochy said. "But it is a rule. [A catcher] can't block the plate without the ball."
Blanco didn't realize that Flowers had obstructed his route to the plate until it was suggested to him when he returned to the Giants' dugout. He dashed to a video-replay room situated near the tunnel leading from the dugout to the clubhouse and conducted his own review of the play.
"Yeah, [Flowers] was blocking the plate," Blanco said, adding, "When I was running I couldn't see it."