SAN FRANCISCO -- In the fifth inning of the Marlins' 74th game of the season, Mike Redmond was ejected for the first time as a big league manager.
The 42-year-old former catcher was tossed by first-base umpire Mark Wegner after a disputed fan interference call at AT&T Park.
Miami was clinging to a 1-0 lead Saturday afternoon when Gregor Blanco blistered a long drive to right-center off Jacob Turner. Giancarlo Stanton pursued toward the high red-brick wall. The ball dropped and bounced straight up, glanced off the bricks and was touched by a fan, as Barry Zito, who was on first base, was charging towards home plate.
Immediately, Wegner signaled for interference, as the ball left the field of play. Home-plate umpire Mike Winters pointed at home and awarded Zito the base, which produced the tying run. Blanco ended up at third base.
Redmond raced to argue, questioning if the ball would have cleared the high wall without the interference. If so, an automatic double would have been the call. In that case, Blanco would have ended up on second and Zito at third.
"The ball hit off the wall and then went up and it was not going to go out of play until the fan reached over and caught it," Wegner said. "That's fan interference. It's our judgment where the runners would have gone if the fan had not touched the ball. As it went up, it went out over the field of play further, which made impossible to bounce into the stands until a fan reached out."
The Giants were able to claim a 2-1 win in 11 innings on pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez's walk-off single. Extra innings was set up by the Giants' disputed run in the fifth.
"Initially, I thought it was a ground-rule double," Redmond said. "I thought it went up there and bounced into the stands. Initially, that's what I thought. But even if he says fan interference, with the pitcher running, I don't know if he would have scored from first on that play."
According to MLB Rule 3:16 regarding "spectator interference," the umpires had the discretion to determine how far the runners could advance. Winters believed Zito would have scored.
"Mark was at first base and went out to the outfield on the ball and saw that the fan had reached over the field of play," Winters said. "In my judgment, if the fan hadn't touched the ball, Zito was going to score. That was a no-brainer to me. Initially, I thought he hadn't called fan interference, so I started pointing at third. As I was pointing, I picked up that [Wegner] had his hands together and that's when I said, 'OK, that's fan interference.' With a runner on first, [second-base umpire] Laz [Diaz] was positioned inside the diamond instead of deep in the outfield. With no runners on, Laz would have been the one to make the call."
Redmond was thrown out and remained arguing as Blanco stood at third base. Before play continued, the umpires sent Blanco back to second base. Turner was able to avoid any further damage in the inning by retiring Marco Scutaro on a fly ball to right field.
"It's a judgment call with fan interference," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's not a ground-rule double. The question I could argue is if Blanco should've been on third. That's their discretion. If the fan doesn't touch it, that's close to an inside-the-park home run."
Bench coach Rob Leary assumed managerial duties for Miami the rest of the game.