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Umpire Jerry Meals costs Red Sox run with missed call (Video)

The Tampa Bay Rays have been the hottest team in baseball lately, and they took first place in the AL East on Monday thanks to a blown call by umpire Jerry Meals.

Daniel Nava was called out at home for an inning-ending double play in the bottom of the eighth when he was trying to tag up and score on a fly ball to left field. Boston Red Sox third baseman Brandon Snyder drove a fly ball to left-center with one out and men on second and third, and Nava, who was pinch-running, appeared to beat Sam Fuld’s throw home. Replays showed that Nava’s foot touched the plate before catcher Jose Molina applied a tag, but Meals missed the call.

Instead of Nava being credited with the tying run, the Sox remained down 2-1 and lost by that score.

After the game, Meals saw a replay and admitted his mistake.

“What I saw was: Molina blocked the plate and Nava’s foot lifted,” Meals said, via MLB.com. “But in the replays, you could clearly see Nava’s foot got under for a split second and then lifted, so I was wrong on my decision. From the angle I had, I did not see his foot get under Molina’s shin guard.”

Do we need any more reason for instant replay? I doubt Meals’ admission will be much of a consolation for Sox manager John Farrell, who was ejected for arguing the call.

The Rays have now won 18 of their last 21 and are in first in the division by a half-game over the Red Sox.

Here’s a close-up look at the play that shows Nava beat the tag:

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John Farrell ejected after controversial call on Daniel Nava (Video)

Daniel-Nava-catchBoston Red Sox right fielder Daniel Nava made a crucial error in a top of the eighth inning in a 4-4 game against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday. Tigers outfielder Avisail Garcia hit a routine fly to the warning track and it appeared Nava made the catch for the first out of the inning. However, he dropped the ball on the transfer and second base umpire Mike DiMuro called the runner safe at second.

The controversial call led to John Farrell’s first ejection as manager of the Red Sox. It also turned what should have been the first out of the inning into a crucial three-run frame for the Tigers, who went on to win 7-5. After the game, crew chief Ted Barrett supported DiMuro’s call.

“To have a catch, you have to have complete control and voluntary release,” Barrett said, according to the Boston Herald. “Mike had him with control, but did not have the voluntary release. When he flipped the ball out of his glove, he never got it into his hand. That’s not voluntary release.”

It certainly looked like Nava made the catch, but the ball may not have fully settled in his glove. Farrell stuck with his opinion of the call being blown in his postgame press conference, arguing that it should have been the first-base umpire’s call to make.

“Clearly, the call was missed,” Farrell said. “Whether or not (first base umpire) Scott Barry even saw the play happen, I couldn’t tell you that. That’s probably a question that’s better directed at them.”

Like the blown call we saw in the Brewers-Phillies game earlier this month, the ruling may have cost Boston the game. It’s hard to say if the right call was made after watching the replay, but you can certainly understand why Farrell was so animated.

Daniel Nava Is a Classic Underdog Story

Watching the Red Sox/Phillies game on Saturday afternoon in Boston, it was impossible not to get swept up in the magic happening at Fenway Park. J.D. Drew led off the second inning with a solo home run off Joe Blanton. The next three batters all reached base to load them up for rookie Daniel Nava. Nava had just been called up from Triple-A Pawtucket that same day and he proceeded to launch the first pitch he saw into the Red Sox bullpen in right field, becoming just the fourth player in history to hit a grand slam in his first career at-bat. Nava gave the fans a curtain call, doubled in the fifth, finished the game 2-for-4, and he became ingrained in the minds and hearts of Red Sox fans with his stunning debut. His improbable grand slam came out of nowhere and it sent people scrambling for their computers to find out more about Daniel Nava who became the most searched person in Google on Saturday afternoon. So the question persists: just who is Daniel Nava?

Nava is a youngster who was just 4’8″ and 70 pounds when he entered high school. Nava admits he wasn’t a special player in high school, mostly because his size kept him from fully developing as a ballplayer. After high school, Nava went to Santa Clara but was cut from their baseball team his freshman year. He hung on as the team’s manager, doing everything from running videotape to washing uniforms.

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