'Horrendous:' Tigers steamed at call preceding Rangers' walk-off homer
Arlington, Texas — The Tigers were hot after this one.
Rougned Odor, who earlier in the game got into a stare-down with starter Matthew Boyd, hit a line drive home run with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Rangers their second straight 5-4 win over the Tigers on Saturday night.
Odor hit a 3-2 sinker off lefty reliever Nick Ramirez that just cleared the fence in left center field. The Tigers issue was that it appeared — both live and on video replay — that Odor had swung and missed on the 2-2 pitch.
The Tigers thought they were going to the 11th inning.
It was a change-up in the dirt, but both home plate umpire Eric Cooper on the initial call and third base umpire Dave Rackley on the appeal ruled he checked his swing. Managers cannot challenge swing or no swing calls.
"Horrendous," Ramirez said. "That can't happen. You can't miss that call. It's not even close. You saw it. You cannot miss that."
The Tigers had the swing freeze-framed on the monitors in the clubhouse after the game, clearly showing Odor's bat crossing the plate.
"After it happens, you still have to make a pitch," Ramirez said. "But when you make a pitch and get the guy out, now you have to make another pitch and that's when (crap) happens.
"I was upset when it happened. When you are on the mound it's usually hard to tell. But you can tell when you see a full barrel."
Manager Ron Gardenhire gave both Cooper and crew chief Larry Vanover an earful on his way off the field after the game.
"We all know what we saw," he said. "He swung at the ball. His bat was out in front of home plate. It's a missed call, plain as day, that's just what it is. And it's disappointing because we played really hard tonight. We battled our tails off and for it to end like that is disappointing.
"It does happen in this game. Everybody is human. We understand that. But two guys had a chance to get that call right."
The Tigers, who lost a 4-2 lead on two unearned runs in the seventh inning, have endured four walk-off losses since the start of July.
"We played well as a team tonight," said Boyd, who struck out nine in 5.2 innings. "We've played well over the last five games. We didn't come out on top this time, but these are the kinds of games that will pay dividends down the road."
Boyd had his encounter with Odor in the sixth inning. With one out and the Tigers up by two runs, Boyd hit him in the backside with a 3-2 fastball. Boyd’s pitch-count was nearing 100 and he was protecting a two-run lead. The last thing he wanted to do was bring the tying run to the plate.
But Odor felt wronged and he stared at Boyd with seemingly bad intent. Boyd stared back, took a couple of steps toward him, saying something to him as catcher Jake Rogers and Cooper got between them.
"We were both battling and he looked at me," Boyd said. "So I just asked him what he was looking at. I'm not trying to hit a guy who has an average off me of like .192 (.188, actually). That's not a guy you really want to give a free pass to."
The Tigers built a 4-2 lead on the strength of a 430-foot home run by Miguel Cabrera that landed on the berm in center field. Cabrera, who had two hits, is 8 for 21 with two doubles, two homers and six RBIs in his last five games.
Harold Castro broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth with a two-out, two-run single.
And then the Tigers gave it back.
Rookie right fielder Travis Demeritte, in his second big-league game, dropped a fly ball by Jose Trevino leading off the bottom of the seventh inning, a two-base error. Delino DeShields doubled him home. DeShields then scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly to right by Elvis Andrus.
"He just missed the play," Gardenhire said. "He drifted with it. He didn't get over to it, and it just kept sliding away from him. He's new to this ballpark and he was going toward the wall. I'm sure that was playing a part in it.
"But he just missed the ball. They ended up tying the game and we were in the war."
A couple other incidents from this one:
►Gordon Beckham got this game to the 10th inning with an incredible diving catch robbing Andrus of a game-winning single.
Reliever Trevor Rosenthal, who has pitched six scoreless innings in his last seven outings, hit pinch-hitter Shin-Soo Choo to start the bottom of the ninth. He was sacrificed to second.
With two outs, pitching coach Rick Anderson game out and asked Rosenthal if he'd rather face Andrus or Hunter Pence.
"He said, 'Let's to this right now, let's get Andrus,'" Gardenhire said. "And Andrus hit the crap out of the ball."
The pitch, a 100-mph fastball, was scalded up the middle. It left his bat with an exit velocity of 103.7 mph. But Beckham made a quick, all-out dive to his right and made a back-handed stab of the liner.
►The defining inning for Boyd was the third. Working with a 2-0 lead, he gave up a lead-off double to Isiah Kiner-Falefa and an RBI single to Trevino. But after walking DeShields, he struck out Danny Santana, Andrus and Pence. Eight of the nine strikes were swing-and-misses.
►Shortstop Jordy Mercer, who had a single and a double in the game, had to leave after the seventh with lower body cramps. Mercer has missed more than two months this season dealing with a quad injury, but he said after the game that he didn't think it was serious and he didn't expect to miss any significant time.