09/27/08 3:54 AM ET
Martin's pinch-homer not enough for LA
Kent, Furcal do well in test; replay goes against Dodgers
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
With two out in the top of the ninth inning, Martin's two-run homer gave the Dodgers a 5-4 lead, but Jonathan Broxton blew the save by allowing an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth after Martin's throwing error.
Kent had given the Dodgers a fourth-inning lead with his first home run since knee surgery, solidifying a spot on the postseason roster while playing five innings at second base. Rafael Furcal, also auditioning for a postseason spot after back surgery, was 0-for-2 with a walk and played four innings at shortstop.
Torre said Furcal gave him the thumbs-up after the game to indicate he was healthy. Kent left quickly and Torre said he will be re-evaluated Saturday, but was dazzled by Kent's ability to hit after missing more than three weeks.
"He could get up Christmas morning and hit a home run somewhere," Torre said.
Derek Lowe, expected to be named the Game 1 starter for next week's first round of playoffs, started and allowed two hits over three scoreless innings. He ended the regular season 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA, allowing only six earned runs over his last 56 2/3 innings and nine starts.
It took instant replay for the Giants to tie the game in the sixth. With Scott Proctor pitching, Bengie Molina's fly off the top of the right-field wall was ruled a single by first-base umpire Chuck Meriwether, challenged by Giants manager Bruce Bochy and overturned into a two-run homer by crew chief Tim Welke after viewing the replay. Bochy, who had inserted a pinch-runner for Molina at first base before umpires viewed the replay, protested the game because umpires would not allow Molina to return to the game.
The umpires needed 12 minutes to sort it all out.
"If it's an effort to speed up the game," Torre said with a grin, "I don't think that worked. It was an interesting protest from Boch. I can't argue when the umpires go back and look at the replay, but I thought it was all sort of strange. Bochy felt he should have been allowed to put Molina back in the game. I felt he should have argued [the home run] before he used the pinch-runner. There's no rule governing that.
"They're trying to get it right. But I had players come out [after watching the replay] and say it wasn't a home run. The only thing I was curious about [replay] was seeing how long it would take. My conversations [with umpires] were light-hearted. It was never an argument. Let's put it this way -- we won the division. I'm not getting bent out of shape over this. My guess is this could lead to some kind of ruling. If it was another time of year and we don't have 40 men on the bench, it could have been different."
Right fielder Jason Repko said he didn't see where the ball hit, because he turned his back to play the carom.
"The way it came down, I'd say it hit the brick and not the metal, but I also have to say I heard a clang," said Repko.
Bochy said he asked for the replay because the ball that was retrieved had a line of green paint the same color as the metal awning atop the brick. Any ball that hits the awning is a home run.
"Bochy wanted to reinsert Molina into the game but he doesn't get another bite at that," said Welke. "We know the rules. Once a pinch-runner touches a base, he's in the game whether he's put in or not. Boch wanted to protest the game. You can't go back and revisit history."
Coincidentally, Welke was the crew chief and three of this crew were umpires earlier this year when Torre protested a game over what amounted to confusion over the insertion of a pinch-hitter.
"This was a learning experience for everybody," said Welke. "The system worked and we got it right. We were just keeping Joe informed. We already had a run-in with him regarding substitutions in St. Louis. He said, 'Been there, done that.'"
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.