DETROIT -- The Tigers couldn't get an out they needed in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's 5-3 loss against the Blue Jays, either off a pitch or off an appeal. The latter didn't go their way after manager Brad Ausmus challenged a pickoff call at third base.
The play came with runners at the corners, including speedy Jose Reyes at third base, and dangerous slugger Edwin Encarnacion at the plate in a 1-0 game. Tigers closer Joe Nathan fired to third base to try to pick off Reyes, but third-base umpire Brian Gorman said Reyes got back to third base ahead of Don Kelly's tag.
The crowd of 33,488 at Comerica Park reacted with skepticism immediately, and Ausmus slowly made the short trot out from the third-base dugout while waiting for guidance from his replay coach, Matt Martin, on whether to challenge. Between the situation and the inning, and with umpires allowed to review a call on their own from then on out, he took a chance.
A look at the replay confirmed the ruling. Not only did Reyes remain on third base, but Jose Bautista was at second, having advanced there on the throw. Kevin Pillar scored Reyes on a sacrifice fly two batters later, followed by Brett Lawrie's three-run homer to essentially put the game away.
Ausmus has made 16 challenges this season, resulting in nine overturned calls. His previous three challenges had resulted in the calls being overturned.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.