Joyce's contested hit ruled a homer after review
Solo shot gave Rays two-run lead over Orioles in sixth inning
BALTIMORE -- Rays outfielder Matt Joyce hit his eighth home run of the season Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards, after an official review gave Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead and eventual series sweeping win over the Orioles.
Play was stopped in the sixth after Joyce sent starter Chris Tillman's fastball down the right-field line for what originally went down as a one-out double. Orioles manager Buck Showalter came out to argue the call, with right fielder Nick Markakis indicating he thought the ball was foul, and Rays manager Joe Maddon came out to counter that Joyce's ball hit the foul pole instead.
"They got it right, so it certainly didn't affect the way the game ended up," Showalter said. "Joe was just kind of waiting to get the right call out of the dugout, because you can only get them to review it if you think it was a home run [not for fair or foul clarifications]."
Any ball that hits the foul pole is a home run, and television replays showed that the ball hit the black part of the pole, right above the wall that houses the visiting scoreboard. The Orioles had that part painted black to stand out for calls like Sunday's and -- after a prolonged on-field deliberation among the umpiring crew-- Joyce's hit was put under official review and eventually ruled a homer.
"Me and [catcher Chris] Snyder were talking -- that's probably the longest debate we've ever seen over a call," said Tillman, who threw some warmup pitches to stay loose. "But they got it right. That's all that matters."
"The only thing I wanted to make sure of, if the play's being called a double on the field by reviewing it, it can just be a double or a home run. It can not be a foul ball," Maddon said of the delay. "I was being told it could be ruled a foul ball, and that's why I had to stick around a while longer."
Crew chief Gerry Davis offered more insight into the ruling and what umpires are allowed to review.
"If we go to replay, whatever we ascertain from the replay is the call we make," Davis said of the unique situation. "So a foul ball is a possibility in that situation. That was the delay, because that's what I was telling [Maddon] that if we go to replay, that's possibly what could happen."
Markakis said he wasn't even looking at where the ball landed so much as trying to set himself up to play it off the wall.
"I was just looking to the spot I was going to [go] where I thought the bounce was going to bounce off, and hopefully have a play at second," Markakis said. "They got the call right."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.