MIAMI -- Earlier in the day Friday, the Marlins got a memo from the league outlining the umpires' interpretation of the "transfer rule." In the ninth inning later that night, Miami benefited from the rule that has been gaining plenty of attention lately.
The rule worked in the Marlins' favor, leading to an overturned call that set up Giancarlo Stanton's walk-off grand slam in an 8-4 win over the Mariners at Marlins Park.
Stanton ended the game in three hours and nine minutes, but it was the play before that set up the decisive shot.
"We got a memo today on that exact play," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "It worked out tonight in our favor. It ended up being a big play. It gave us the bases loaded and a chance to win the ballgame."
The play in question was a sacrifice-bunt attempt by Marcell Ozuna with two on and no out off Mariners reliever Yoervis Medina. On a 3-1 pitch, the bunt was fielded by Medina, who threw to third in an attempt to force out Reed Johnson. Initially, third-base umpire Lance Barrett called Johnson out.
Pat Shine, the Marlins' administrative coach who reviews all close plays, immediately took charge, saw a bobble and notified the dugout to challenge.
Umpires are cracking down on when defenders transfer the ball from their glove to their throwing hand. In the past, prior to instant replay, fielders often got the benefit of the doubt. Redmond challenged that third baseman Kyle Seager didn't maintain possession, and after one minute and 35 seconds, the call was overturned, and the bases were full with no outs for Stanton.
"We've seen it happen a couple of times already this year, so I know the rule," Seager said. "I knew that was what he was coming out to do, but I felt like I caught the ball on the base and I tried to transfer it over there to try and make a throw to first. That's when I bobbled it."
When sliding into third base, Johnson couldn't tell if Seager had bobbled the ball. But when he went into the dugout, he quickly saw the replay and liked the chances of an overturned call.
"When I saw that exact one, I knew there was a very good chance, because I had been watching all the other ones on TV," Johnson said. "Like guys had the ball for a couple of steps, and then they hit the wall, and then they go to transfer and it falls out. Then they call it a no-catch. I knew right then after I saw it on replay. That's not really close to one of the worst ones I'd seen."