Tigers' challenge exposes illegal slide by Royals’ Jay

Chris McCosky

Kansas City, Mo. – So, what the heck really happened on the Tigers’ challenge and subsequent inning-ending double-play in the fifth inning Friday night?

The incident created more confusion in the press box than it did on the field.

Here’s the play: With one out and Jon Jay at first base, Lucas Duda hit a ground ball up the middle. Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias, playing behind second base, scooped up the ball and beat Jay to the base.

As Iglesias was making his throw to first, the sliding Jay appeared to leg-whip him. Iglesias completed the throw and Duda was initially called safe.

More: It’s only funny when you win; Tigers hang on in 9th

Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire immediately challenged the play.

“You have to go one by one, that’s how you have to present it to the umpire,” he said. “I said I want to check the slide and then the play at first.”

It was announced that the replay officials deemed Jay’s slide legal but the call at first was wrong and overturned. The Tigers got their double-play. That’s not how Gardenhire saw it.

“He called them both out,” Gardenhire said. “They can announce anything they want, but I don’t know that they (understood) what he was saying. Because he pointed at second and then at first – out, out. That call went our way.”

The Tigers turned three double plays behind starter Francisco Liriano in the 4-2 loss.

There was another bizarre double-play earlier in the game involving Tigers’ JaCoby Jones. He seemed to be defending himself, taking a half-swing against a pitch high and tight from Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy.

The ball hit the bat and caught part of his hand, and rolled out to third base. Jones, shaking out his hand, never ran and the Royals turned a 5-4-3 double-play.

“They got that right,” Gardenhire said. “It hit the bat. It scared him to death, more than anything else. The pitch was right up at his face, and scared him. He came in and said it hit the bat. But you don’t see that too often.”