PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The new rule designed to protect catchers helped the Philadelphia Phillies gain a victory.
Ryan Howard homered in his second game since a three-game benching and scored the go-ahead run on an overturned call at the plate in Philadelphia’s 4-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.
Arizona’s Miguel Montero was called for blocking the plate before he had the ball and leaving Howard no path, a violation of an experimental rule put in place this season.
“What am I supposed to do? Leave the ball go and get it, or stand still?” Montero recalled telling umpires. “The throw took me there. I went and got the ball. I have no clue where to go on this kind of a play.
I’d much rather be run over. It’s an awkward rule. Let the game alone. It’s been this way for 100 years. It’s kind of not fun anymore.”
With the score 2-2 in the sixth, Howard walked with two outs against Vidal Nuno (0-2). Marlon Byrd popped up to short right field, where second baseman Didi Gregorius backpedaled slowly, settled under the ball and allowed it to kick off his glove and bounce toward center.
Ender Inciarte picked up the ball and threw to the plate, where Montero was blocking Howard’s path, grabbed the throw on the fly and tagged the runner as Howard tried to get around him on the infield side.
Umpire Dale Scott signaled out, but after a review of 2 minutes, 55 seconds, Howard was ruled safe.
“This year that’s a run,” said Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg, who called his team “very fortunate.”
“In the last 100 years, it’s not a run,” he said.
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, who came onto to the field to speak with Scott after the video review, said “the rule has to be reevaluated.”
“I didn’t think they got the play right,” Gibson said.
In the first season of expanded video review, the plate-blocking rule has been among the most contentious of the innovations.
“There’s a lot of judgment there and a little bit of confusion,” Sandberg said. “Even 3 1/2 months into the season, here the catcher did not know that he couldn’t stand there the whole time. And then, ultimately, Howard didn’t know his responsibilities as he got to home plate.”
Howard hit a two-run homer in the first, his 16th of the season but second since June 19. He is 3 for 8 since his benching.