SEATTLE -- On Thursday, a close play at home plate in the Orioles' 4-0 victory over the Mariners was upheld following an official crew-chief review of Rule 7.13, which serves as a guideline for home-plate collisions.
With James Jones on third base and one out in a scoreless first inning, Robinson Cano hit a dribbler back toward the mound. Pitcher Wei-Yin Chen charged, fielded and made an impressive glove flip to the plate as Jones rushed home.
Catcher Caleb Joseph caught and tagged Jones out before the speedster could slip his left hand over the plate. But it appeared that Joseph's left foot might have prevented Jones from having a clear path to the plate. After the out call, crew chief Fieldin Culbreth initiated the review using Major League Baseball's new instant-replay policy.
Following a 3-minute, 45-second review, the out call on the field stood.
"I can't go out and argue after the decision's been made, but I'm just a little puzzled with that," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He didn't have the ball, his foot was in front of the plate, he caught the ball and he blocked it. To me, that's blocking the plate. I don't know how else you can describe it, but it is what it is."
According to Rule 7.13, a catcher can't block a runner's path to the plate unless he has possession of the baseball. If, in the umpire's estimation, the catcher impedes the runner's progress without it, the runner is ruled safe and the run scores.
Jones said he saw Chen get a quick jump off the mound and wasn't shocked when the flip beat him to the plate, though he maintained Joseph was in his way before he caught the ball.
"I was just going on contact. His foot was there. ... I didn't understand the rule, if I could run through him or I didn't know what to do," Jones said. "But he was definitely in front of the plate."
Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less