Tigers skipper says collapse is shameful

DETROIT --- The Detroit Tigers earned an unwanted place in baseball history, becoming the first team to miss out on the playoffs after having a three-game lead with four games left.


"We have nobody to blame but ourselves for not wrapping it up last week at home," Jim Leyland said Wednesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "Shame on us."

That doesn't change how Detroit's manager felt about a key moment in the 163rd game of the season.

Replays appeared to show that Brandon Inge's jersey was grazed by a pitch with the bases loaded in the 12th inning at Minnesota, but the umpire didn't put him on first to force home a go-ahead run. The Twins went on to score in the home half of the inning to win 6-5 Tuesday, breaking a tie in the division to advance to the postseason and start the Tigers' offseason.

"I'm really upset that it ended the way it did, having Brandon get hit by a pitch because that totally changes that game," Leyland said. "I can understand how the ump didn't see the pitch hit him, but to say video was inconclusive upsets me because everybody in America saw that it did.

"I think the head of the umpires or the league office should come out and say the umpire missed that call," Leyland said.

It doesn't sound like that's going to happen.

Home plate umpire Randy Marsh said he did not see a replay that showed the ball hit Inge and Major League Baseball's vice president of umpires stood by Marsh.

"I understand and respect Jim's call for accountability because umpires should acknowledge when they miss a call," said MLB's Mike Port, who said traveling has prevented him from seeing the pitch in question. "But if Randy Marsh, who has worked about 4,000 games, said the replays he saw were inconclusive, then I would have to agree with his assessment at this point."

Even though the Tigers took issue with the call that didn't go their way, they missed other opportunities to win the game -- a recurring problem late in the season.

Detroit played host to the Twins in the finale of a four-game series on Thursday with a three-game lead and lost 8-3.

The Tigers then were at home against the Chicago White Sox, and could have avoided a tiebreaker by winning two of three games during the last weekend of the regular season.

Alas, Detroit won only one game in the series.



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