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April 12, 2021

Social media explodes over controversial call that helped Phillies win

The Phillies avoided a three-game sweep by the Atlanta Braves with a 7-6 win on Sunday night. But the win didn't come without controversy, as a bang-bang play at home plate in the top of the ninth inning that gave the Phillies the go-ahead run left many upset with both the call and MLB's replay review system.

The game was tied 6-6 in the top of the ninth inning Sunday night when shortstop Didi Gregorius stepped to the plate at Truist Park. Third baseman Alec Bohm had led off the inning with a double and advanced to third base on a ground ball out from second baseman Jean Segura. 

Bohm was just 90 feet away from home plate, and with just one out in the inning, the Phillies would have two cracks at getting him in.

Gregorius lofted a fly ball to left field that initially appeared to be too shallow for Bohm to tag up and score against Braves' outfielder Marcell Ozuna.

However, Phillies' third base coach Dusty Wathan told Bohm to head for home. Ozuna's throw was to the outside of the third base line, forcing Braves' catcher Travis d'Arnaud to provide Bohm with a narrow path to slide into home plate safely. But the throw had beaten Bohm and it appeared he would be tagged out. 

Bohm made his slide into home plate as d'Arnaud simultaneously slid back over to apply the tag. The home plate umpire called Bohm safe, giving the Phillies a 7-6 lead that would turn out to be the final score. 

When watching it in real time, it looked like Bohm barely snuck his toe past d'Arnaud's tag and touched home plate. But when slowed down on replay, it's very unclear if Bohm even touched home with his foot when crossing the plate and being tagged.

Upon review of the call, the umpires confirmed that Bohm was safe on the play. In order for a decision to be overturned, the umpires must find irrefutable evidence that they made the wrong call. If there's any sort of ambiguity, the call almost always stands.

"I was called safe," Bohm said after the game. "That's all that matters."

"It was by the skin of his big toe I think that we scored," Phillies' manager Joe Girardi said after the game.

While the Phillies and their fans were not upset with the call, many others around baseball strongly disagreed with the decision that Bohm was safe. That included the Braves and their fans, other MLB players, fans and members of the media.

Nevertheless, the Phillies will happily take the win and continue with their NL East road trip in New York against the Mets this week in a four-game series.

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