Instant replay still has its opponents, and probably always will. There were voters, after all, who thought Greg Maddux shouldn’t have been a unanimous selection to the Hall of Fame.
And if every challenge this season is going to take more than two minutes, not to mention the time it takes for a manager to hear from the dugout if he should ask for a video review, more opponents might crop up.
But the Texas Rangers were all for the new system Tuesday night after their victory at Globe Life Park.
Manager Ron Washington successfully challenged a pickoff play at second base in the sixth inning, a sequence that helped limit the damage against Martin Perez, and the Rangers scored the game’s final three runs to walk off with a 3-2 win over Philadelphia.
Never miss a local story.
Adrian Beltre won it with a one-out single in the ninth that scored Shin-Soo Choo, who walked to start the inning and reached four times in his five plate appearances.
Perez allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings, and Jason Frasor, Neal Cotts and Joakim Soria combined for the final 10 outs as the Rangers’ pitching staff recovered from a 14-run shellacking on Opening Day.
Soria got the win, though instant replay deserved some consideration.
“It was good because I’m a big believer, no matter how long it takes, get the call right,” Beltre said. “If it goes your way or doesn’t go your way, just get it right.”
Perez and A.J. Burnett had allowed only three hits apiece through five innings, but the first two Phillies reached in the sixth and Jimmy Rollins followed with a single to bring home Cesar Hernandez to break a scoreless tie and move Ben Revere to second base.
Perez retired Chase Utley for the first out, and then spun to second during Marlon Byrd’s at-bat to get Revere.
Umpire Cory Blaser called Revere safe ahead of second baseman Donnie Murphy’s tag, but Washington came out of the dugout and got a signal from bench coach Tim Bogar to challenge.
After a review that lasted 2 minutes, 18 seconds, the call was reversed and Revere was removed from scoring position.
“From my vantage point, I thought he had him, really,” Washington said. “When I ran out there, I worked him [Blaser] in a position where I could see what Bogey had, and he said he was out.”
The impact was immediate. Byrd singled to center, a hit that would have scored Revere. Rollins scored as the next batter, Ryan Howard, doubled for a 2-0 lead. But that was it for the Phillies after Jason Frasor got Carlos Ruiz to end the inning.
“I thought we had him, but I think the umpire was blocked by me,” Murphy said. “I don’t think he had a clean look at it, but with how I caught it I knew we had him. I was glad we went to replay because I thought it’d get overturned.”
Howard’s liner to right field chased Perez, who gave up four of his seven hits in the sixth. Otherwise, though, he worked efficiently and used his slider and changeup to pile up seven strikeouts.
Perez threw 83 pitches, including just six in the fifth, but petered out in the sixth.
“He kept us in the game,” Washington said. “That’s all we ask of [starters] when they go out there. He did that tonight.”
The Rangers countered against Burnett in their half of the sixth, which Alex Rios started with a double. Mitch Moreland was next, and his single into right-center field brought home Rios with the Rangers’ first run.
Choo scored the tying run an inning later after leading off with a single. He moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Elvis Andrus, and Beltre followed two batters later with a double down the right-field line.
Choo was the catalyst in the ninth against Mario Hollands, who was making his big-league debut. Choo took four straight balls for a walk and went to second on another Andrus bunt.
After Hollands walked Fielder, Beltre dumped a single into right-center off B.J. Rosenberg to win it.
Replay also came up big for the Rangers.
“They want to get the calls right,” Washington said. “It took a run off the board.”