When Brandon Belt singled in the ninth inning to load the bases, Mattingly thought pinch runner Gregor Blanco should have been called out at third base for running into coach Roberto Kelly. Blanco scored on a sacrifice fly by Joe Panik to win the game.
The explanation Mattingly said he received from the umpires on the non-call at third base: They weren’t watching.
Third base umpire and crew chief Fieldin Culbreth offered a different recollection of his conversation with Mattingly.
“Don came out and asked me did I see him grab him,” Culbreth told a pool reporter. “I told him no, I did not see him grab him.”
McCarthy wrote, “you had one job.”
But even if Culbreth was watching, he might not have called Blanco out.
Rule 7.09 (h) dictates that interference can be called if “[i]n the judgment of the umpire, the base coach at third base, or first base, by touching or holding the runner, physically assists him in returning to or leaving third base or first base.”
Culbreth said, “There ends up being contact but the rule is pretty specific in the fact that he had to touch and physically grab him and assist him in returning to the base. That did not happen.”
Blanco told reporters that wasn’t the case.
“I was staying at third,” he said. “I was going nowhere.”
J.P. Howell, who gave up the single to Belt, said he didn’t see the play in question.
But Howell said he wasn’t bothered by the non-call.
“They still got the hits they needed,” Howell said. “That would have been luck.”