ST. PETERSBURG — To crew chief Gary Darling, the crux of the controversy surrounding B.J. Upton getting called out in the sixth inning was pretty clear.
In Darling's interpretation of the baseball rulebook, Upton didn't have to do much in terms of attempting to run to second base after he overran first on an infield single. Once, according to Darling, Upton made a "little jab step and a shoulder" toward second, and Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick tagged him, Upton was out.
In the official baseball rulebook, Rule 7.08 (j) states that once a runner "fails to return at once to first base after overrunning or oversliding that base … if he attempts to run to second, he is out when tagged."
"He made an attempt to run to second base," Darling said. "I've called guys out for less."
Upton disagreed, and so did manager Joe Maddon, who was ejected after an animated argument with first-base umpire Jerry Meals. Darling supported Meals' decision, which only maddened Maddon further.
Meals originally called Upton safe when he beat an errant throw from Mark Teixeira to pitcher Ervin Santana, who was covering the base. Upton took a small step to his right, then to his left, but didn't cross the first-base line. Kendrick tagged a shocked Upton, who put his hand on his head in disbelief before Maddon argued his case.
"It's unconscionable; it can't happen," Maddon said. "It's wrong. On every level it's wrong. And furthermore, to have the crew chief come over and tell me it was the right call really got me upset. There's no room for that. … That is a fabricated call, I don't know what he saw."
Upton said only, "I didn't think I made a move toward the base. But obviously, (the umpires) thought differently."