Garcia upset with call in Curve loss to Aeros

The rulebook is set in stone. The interpretation of the rulebook for an umpire isn’t.

Curve manager Carlos Garcia was upset with interpretation of rule 7.09(f) in the Curve’s 6-5 loss in front of 5,069 at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

In the bottom of the ninth inning with Adalberto Santos at second and Gregory Polanco at first, Alex Dickerson hit a grounder to Aeros second baseman Jose Ramirez.

Ramirez bobbled the ball in his glove but was able to throw to shortstop Francisco Lindor. Meanwhile, Gregory Polanco slid into second base normally – not trying to forcefully inhibit Lindor’s ability to throw the ball to first for the double play.

Lindor wasn’t able to throw the ball to first, and Dickerson – who would have beaten out the throw – reached first.

But Jansen Visconti, the umpire in position to make the call at second, said that Polanco did inhibit Lindor’s ability to throw the ball to first.

By rule 7.09(f) in the official rulebook, Polanco was called out, Dickerson was called out and Adalberto Santos – who would have been on third trying to score the tying run with one out – had to go back to second with two outs.

The call brought many boos from the crowd, and Garcia went out to plead with Visconti.

“The second baseman mishandled the ball, and it took a long time to release it to second base,” Garcia said. “The only play he had was the one out, the forceout at second base. Nothing else.”

Garcia said he felt Visconti didn’t take in to consideration that Ramirez didn’t make a clean play at second and was forced to hesitate to throw to second base for the force out.

“You’ve got to be able to make some adjustments to see if that was double-play ball,” Garcia said. “If the second baseman fields the ball clean and throws it to the shortstop, yes, they have a play. But how that play developed, there is no way turn a double play in there.”

The official rule states that “if, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead.”

According to the rule, it appeared as though Polanco was correctly called out, Dickerson was correctly called out and Santos was correctly put back on second.

What upset Garcia was it appeared to be a forceout and a non-double play ball.

“I don’t know why he called that call,” Polanco said. “I slid through the base. I didn’t have anything else to do.”

Regardless if a double play could have been turned or not, the Curve still had Santos in scoring position – just on second.

But Justin Howard was intentionally walked and Jarek Cunningham grounded out for the final out.

“We all are learning,” Garcia said. “We all are human beings. We make mistakes. We all got to rebound from what happens. It happens tonight. Hopefully, he fixes it up next time.”

Game recap

Key player: Aeros 1B Jesus Aguilar went 1-for-3, driving in two runs, including a solo homer.

Key play: Aeros 3B Giovanny Urshela hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning, giving Akron the lead.

Key stat: It was the first time the Curve have lost at home after leading through eight. They were 23-0.

How they scored

Top 2nd: Aguilar homered (0-1).

Top 4th: Lindor walked, scored on Aguilar sacrifice fly (0-2).

Top 5th: Rodriguez singled, scored on Wallace ground out (0-3); Urshela reached on an error by Santos, scored on Ramirez single (0-4).

Bottom 5th: Paulino singled, scored on error by Urshela (1-4).

Bottom 7th: Tejeda homered (2-4); Santos walked, scored on Polanco double (3-4); Polanco doubled, scored on Dickerson homer (5-4).

Top 9th: Holt singled, scored on Urshela homer (5-6).