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Umpire’s mask thwarts Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s attempt at ruining a rally

05.01.13 at 12:19 am ET

TORONTO ‘€“ In a game full of pivotal plays, it was one of the more notable ones.

With the bases-loaded, and the Blue Jays already carrying a 1-0 lead, Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia attempted a back-door pick-off play with first baseman Mike Napoli. The plan was to catch Jose Bautista cheating off first, a ploy hatched knowing the Toronto slugger liked to cheat a bit out in his leads.

But Saltalamacchia’€™s throw went well wide of first, sailing into right field, allowing two runs to score.

As it turned out, however, there might have been a reason for the errant toss.

‘€œIt looked like he got tied up with [home plate umpire] Clint [Fagan] behind the plate,’€ said Red Sox manager John Farrell. ‘€œHe goes to cock his arm, had his hand hits the mask. After conferring with the umpire, he felt like it was after the ball was released. Physically, I don’t know how that could have happened after he released the ball. But in that case, that should have been a dead ball in the situation that it was, but they kept it as it was.”

It was an entanglement Saltalamacchia confirmed after the Red Sox’€™ 9-7 loss at Rogers Centre.

‘€œI got it, went to go through it, elbow hit the umpire’s mask,’€ the catcher explained. ‘€œWhich I’ve done in the past but no one’s ever said anything. But I didn’t really make a stink about it because I didn’t know the ruling on it. But now I know once it hits his mask it’s got to be a dead ball. It definitely, definitely hit. Part of the game.’€

As for any subsequent conversations, Saltalamacchia said, ‘€œI did talk to him because he had told John that I hit him on the follow thru, which is kind of impossible. But I did tell him that, and he said, ‘€˜Well, I thought you did.’€™ I told him that ‘€˜when my arm is going back is when I felt it hit you.’€™ At that point I was already getting ready to go forward so I couldn’t hold up.”

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