Non-interference call benefits O's, hurts Yanks
Pearce breaks up double play at third base by appearing to slide out of baseline
NEW YORK -- With runners on first and second and nobody out in the eighth inning of Baltimore's 8-0 win Sunday, Yankees reliever Adam Warren forced Orioles slugger Nelson Cruz to hit a bouncing ground ball to third base.
Kelly Johnson stepped on third for a forceout, and as he attempted to throw to first base for a double play, Steve Pearce slid into him and the ball sailed into the stands behind first.
The umpiring crew huddled together and decided not to call interference on Pearce, while placing Adam Jones at third base and Cruz at second due to the overthrow. The Orioles went on to tag Warren for four runs in the inning, turning a 3-0 game into a seven-run lead for Baltimore.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi emerged almost immediately from the dugout to argue that interference should have been called, pointing to the mark in the dirt Pearce left with his slide a couple of steps in front of third base. After the game, he voiced his displeasure with the slide.
"You have to make an attempt for the bag and there was no attempt for the bag," Girardi said. "That was pretty malicious. And I'm all for playing hard. I don't have a problem with playing hard -- I took guys out -- but that's a pretty dangerous one because you're going after someone on the side. And that's how you hurt your knees."
Girardi clarified by saying he was not calling Pearce a dirty player with bad intentions, but still thought it was a dangerous slide.
"I was just trying to take him out, there was nothing malicious about it. I'm just playing the game," Pearce said. "And if he feels that way, I'm sorry. But personally, I was not trying to hurt the guy. I was just trying to break up the double play.
"When I saw the replay, I was like, 'Man, I was far away [from the bag].' But like I said, I was not trying to hurt Kelly over there. I was just trying to break up the double play."
Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.