Rays' Pena awarded homer in instant replay's first reversal
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Baseball's instant replay system produced its first reversal Friday night when Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena had a two-run double changed to a three-run homer during the fourth inning against Minnesota.
Pena's drive to right field off Boof Bonser appeared to be touched by a fan before bouncing off the top of the fence. First base umpire Mike DiMuro signaled fan interference, bringing both managers out of the dugout.
The umpires huddled immediately and decided to look at the video for the third test of the system since Aug. 28, when baseball allowed umpires to use it determine boundary calls.
"The thought was the fan reached over and definitely made contact with the ball," DiMuro said.
It took 4 minutes, 10 seconds to reverse the call.
"We saw two angles," crew chief Gerry Davis said. "The first one was inconclusive. The second one was the one that showed it."
The first use of the system came at Tropicana Field on Sept. 3, when replays confirmed a long home run by Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees against the Rays. An on-field call also was upheld on Sept. 9, when Hunter Pence's drive off the top of the right-field wall was confirmed as a double during a game between Houston and Pittsburgh.
"I've always been in favor of replay," Pena said. "I was really calm at second base because I knew that whatever the call was going to be, it was going to be the right one because of this new tool."
The crowd broke into cheers when the umpires returned to the field and Davis signaled home run.
"I really believed the ball was over the wall," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "The fact that it took so long for them to come back out, I thought that may have worked in our favor."
Twins right fielder Denard Span wasn't sure what happened.
"A play like that, it's like a blur. It happened so fast," Span said.
"I don't know if somebody jumped in front of me or a hand got in front of me or what," he added. "But I heard the ball obviously hit some skin. ... They looked at the replay and I'm pretty sure they got it right."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press