NEW YORK (AP) — Joe Girardi could have used a birthday present Sunday: increased instant replay for umpires.
The Yankees manager was ejected from Game 2 of the AL championship series on his 48th birthday after arguing a pivotal missed call by second base umpire Jeff Nelson in a 3-0 loss to Detroit that left New York in a 2-0 deficit.
Nelson admitted he blew the call on second baseman Robinson Cano's tag, which should have ended the eighth inning before Detroit expanded its lead from one run to three. And Girardi still was steamed Cano was called out by Jeff Kellogg on a close play in the opener, a 6-4, 12-inning loss.
"Too much is at stake. We play 235 days to get to this point, and two calls go against us," Girardi said with passion in his voice.
New York was trailing 1-0 with two outs in the eighth Sunday when Austin Jackson singled with Omar Infante on first. Right fielder Nick Swisher threw to second, where Infante had run past the base, and Cano tagged him on the chest sliding back.
"I had the tag late and the hand going into the bag before the tag on the chest," Nelson said.
Then he watched the replay after the game.
"The hand did not get in before the tag. The call was incorrect," Nelson explained.
After Boone Logan relieved, pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia blooped a single to right for a 2-0 lead and Girardi returned to the mound to bring in Joba Chamberlain. Girardi got into a heated discussion with Nelson and was tossed. Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera followed with another single for a 3-0 lead.
"He told me let it go. He was trying to keep me in the game," Girardi said. "It's hard to let it go, you know, when it changes the complexion of the game."
Infante knew he should have been called out.
"I think the umpire got confused 'cause he saw my hand," he said. "Something with my hand made him think I was safe."