DETROIT — Avisail Garcia hit a fly ball deep to right field to start the bottom of the eighth inning for the Detroit Tigers on Saturday afternoon, a routine play in what had been anything but a routine game to that point.
Daniel Nava, just inserted into the game, ran it down. The ball was at his waist when he turned, so Nava flipped his glove up to catch it. The ball plopped in and the Red Sox had one out.
Umpire Mike DiMuro disagreed. Because Nava dropped the ball when he went to transfer it to his left hand, DiMuro ruled there was no catch.
Garcia reached second on the error. The Tigers went to score three runs in the inning and beat the Sox, 7-5, to take three of four games in the series.
The Red Sox played one of their poorest games of the season. Their pitchers were inefficient, the defense made a series of mistakes, and the offense left 11 runners on base, six of them in scoring position.
But most of the postgame talk centered on the call in right field and the latest controversy involving major league umpires.
“Clearly the call was missed,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell, who was ejected by DiMuro.
“It’s unfortunate,” Nava said. “I know what happened.”
Crew chief Ted Barrett defended the call.
"To have a catch, you have to have complete control and voluntary release,” he said. “[DiMuro] had him with control, but did not have the voluntary release. When he flipped the ball out of his glove, he never got it into his hand. That's not voluntary release.”
Nava said he caught the ball, secured it in his glove, and dropped it after he went to throw it back in.
Nava was playing with his left thumb heavily taped but he didn’t believe that contributed to the ball being dropped.
“The ball was in there. I guess [DiMuro] didn’t have a good angle, unfortunately,” said Nava, who sprinted in to plead his case. “I knew that he caught it.”
DiMuro checked when the other umpires and when the call stood, Farrell was ejected for the first time this season.
“When you spend the rest of the game in the clubhouse you probably have a difference of opinion,” Farrell said.
Farrell also thought first base umpire Scott Barry should have made the call.
“Why it was called by the second base umpire, I don’t know,” he said.
Said Barrett: “With no one on base, that is certainly [Dimuro's] jurisdiction."
The Sox have lost four of their last five games and are off on Monday before starting a nine-game homestand. They have a two-game lead in the American League East but the five teams are separated by only five games.
• The Red Sox may have lost Shane Victorino to injury again. The right fielder, who has missed 30 games this season with back and hamstring injuries, was pinch hit for in the eighth inning of Sunday’s 7-5 loss against the Tigers.
Victorino injured his lower back in the fourth inning when he ran into the corner in right field to make a catch to end the inning and leave two runners stranded. He crashed into the wall and stayed in the game for three innings before leaving.
Farrell said Victorino would get a full examination from team doctors on Monday.
• Dustin Pedroia was 0 for 16 against Justin Verlander in his career before he reached on an infield hit in the third inning. Replays showed he was out by a half step, but Pedroia singled he was safe as he crossed the bag and Barry agreed. Pedroia was for 0 for 11 against Mariano Rivera before a single on May 31. Pedroia’s longest career 0-for is now 0 for 16 against Dan Haren.
• Jose Iglesias was 0 for 3. But he was hit by a pitch in the second inning and that extended his streak of reaching base successfully to 26 games.
• Red Sox pitchers allowed 27 runs (23 earned) over 33 innings in the series.