Blue Jays quiet on umpiring after Game 2 loss despite several close calls

TORONTO — If the Toronto Blue Jays were frustrated with the officiating in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, they kept it to themselves.

Rally towels — given out to fans before the game — rained down on the field Friday after Toronto lost to the Texas Rangers 6-4 in 14 innings for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. The Rangers’ winning run was Rougned Odor, who was singled home by Hanser Alberto.

Odor may have been tagged out by Toronto shortstop Troy Tulowitzki during the previous at bat. Replays showed that Tulowitzki had applied a tag while Odor slid back in to the base after Chris Gimenez’s single to Jose Bautista in right field.

However, Odor’s foot bounced off the base as the shortstop tried to get his glove down on the Rangers runner’s outstretched leg. Whether or not Odor got his foot back on the bag fast enough or if Tulowitzki tagged him in time was debatable.

Umpires on the field called Odor safe and video review from Major League Baseball’s offices in New York City upheld that decision, although fans at Rogers Centre loudly voiced their displeasure with coarse chants.

“You know, it’s really hard to tell in the play at second base,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.  “From what we saw on the board, looked like there might have been a little gap, whether enough to overturn or not, apparently not.

“So that’s the way it goes.”

Rangers manager Jeff Banister thought that the officials made the right call and even if after the review they had ruled Odor out he would have respected the decision.

“We felt like that he was on the bag, that’s what we thought of it,” said Banister. “I mean, obviously the call stood, so that’s part of the game. That’s what we do as far as this game and replay and it’s here.

“So hey, if it goes the other way, we live with it, we move on.”

Home plate umpire Vic Carapazza was also regularly booed by Blue Jays fans for his strike zone. Toronto hitters were visibly frustrated with some of his called strikes, with many stopping to exchange words with him before returning to the dugout.

After the game, the Blue Jays were more guarded.

“No comment,” said Toronto starter Marcus Stroman, who threw seven innings with five strikeouts and four runs, three of them earned.

“I don’t get into that either,” said Gibbons of the strike zone. “There was complaining on both sides, but that’s behind us.”

Blue Jays reliever Aaron Sanchez had calls go for him and against him. Rangers centre-fielder Delino DeShields Jr., was visibly angry after Sanchez struck him out with an outside pitch to lead off the 13th inning.

Three batters later, Sanchez was obviously displeased when he didn’t get a third strike against pinch hitter Mike Napoli, who eventually ground out to Toronto second baseman Ryan Goins.

“I don’t remember our guys really acting out at the plate as far as that is concerned,” said Banister. “What I love about this game is all the elements and how you have to meet certain demands of the game. It’s all part of it. 

“If they don’t go your way, whether it’s a pitch that’s called a ball or a strike, you continue to compete. That’s the thing that we challenge our guys to do, is to stay in the moment, stay focused and don’t get caught up into anything.”

Banister went on to defend the umpires further.

“I don’t answer questions on the strike zone,” said Banister. “I think that really when it comes down to umpiring, these are the best umpires, really, across Major League Baseball, and they go out there every single day to do their best.”

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John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press