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Upon review, PCL overturns no-hitter07/20/2011 8:37 PM ET
By Danny Wild / MLB.com
Upon further review, the Pacific Coast League has said no way to a no-no.
Following an official review, the no-hitter pitched Monday by Omaha's Luis Mendoza was changed to a one-hitter Wednesday after league officials deemed a controversial error in the ninth inning should have been scored a double.
"It was a very, very difficult call for the official scorer to make, and the same here," said Dwight Hall, PCL director of baseball operations.
Hall, one of those involved in reversing the original ruling, said video replays helped the league reach its decision.
"We just felt it was compelling enough," he said.
Mendoza was three outs away from a no-hitter when Memphis' Tyler Greene led off the ninth inning with a liner over the head of leaping left fielder David Lough. The ball glanced off the top of Lough's glove and fell in for what initially was ruled a two-base error.
Mendoza retired the next three batters to beat the Redbirds, 4-0, and record his second PCL no-hitter.
Almost immediately, the ruling was questioned, with the Redbirds' official scorer agreeing soon after the game to change it to a double. That decision was reversed a short time later.
On Tuesday, the Redbirds filed an official request with the league to review the play. A day later, PCL officials called both teams to inform them of the reversal.
"We used video review and accounts of the play from folks in the ballpark with experience and knowledge of the situation, so it didn't just come from our office," Hall explained. "It didn't just come from those of us here sitting in our office."
Mendoza, who threw a no-hitter on Aug. 14, 2009 for Oklahoma City, will have to settle for a one-hitter. The double, meanwhile, extended Greene's hitting streak. He stretched it to 15 games on Tuesday.
Tough fielding plays over the years are easily second-guessed by fans and the media. Defining what a routine play is or whether a fielder made a legitimate effort for a catchable ball leaves room for debate. The decision on Monday became increasingly difficult, given the circumstances, and Hall said the decision was made after an exhaustive process.
"I can't say the word overwhelming, but as concerned as we were about taking the no-hitter away from Luis Mendoza, we wanted to make sure it was properly rewarded, if that was the case," he added. "We felt like in reviewing the situation, this was the most correct and fair decision we could make. We just tried to look as best we could."
Hall noted that PCL president Branch Rickey III was involved in the review process.
"It's a judgment call by the scorer and the league office," Hall said.
According to Hall, the league reviews official scoring decisions occasionally each year, although he couldn't recall one that determined a no-hitter.
Under baseball rules, official scorers have 24 hours after a game to make changes -- official statistics are maintained by Major League Baseball Advanced Media. In terms of Greene's double, both Memphis and Omaha had to agree to a change.
In the ensuing 24 hours, teams can officially request a league review.
"We have an official process if a club, a team personnel or the club itself requests the review by the league office of the scoring decision," Hall said. "It happens occasionally, a few times a season across the whole league, and when you think of the number of decisions made, it's a small number.
Video of the play was made available shortly after the game on MiLB.com, and fans were quick to weigh in with their opinions on Facebook and Twitter. Roughly half of the responses favored an error.
"We were trying to make the right decision based on the rules and policies set forth by official scoring, but I can't emphasize enough, there were many opinions," Hall said.
Hall said the video replay was the biggest factor in the review process. Such video has become available only in recent years.
"[Video evidence] probably had carried the most weight, it gave us a chance to actually see a replay of what happened," he added. "Overall this year, it's been, I think, one of the additional benefits. In addition to giving fans and families of players across the league more opportunities to watch their team and players, it's been good for us to have a better view of what's going on around the league. It's been a huge benefit across the board."
For a couple of days, Mendoza could celebrate becoming one of 10 pitchers in the PCL's 109-year history to throw two no-hitters and one of five to have gone nine innings in doing so.
"Our goal was to make sure it was the most correct decision we could make," Hall said.