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Howard ruled safe despite missing plate

Howard ruled safe despite missing plate

PHILADELPHIA -- A play at the plate in Game 4 raised another round of questions about the umpiring of the World Series, when Ryan Howard was called safe at home by umpire Mike Everitt in the fourth inning, though he never touched the plate. The call, though, appeared to be correct.

With the Phillies trailing, 2-1, in the fourth inning of Sunday's 7-4 Yankees win, Howard raced home on a two-out, line-drive single by third baseman Pedro Feliz that dropped just in front of left fielder Johnny Damon. The Phillies first baseman, who had been standing on second after his leadoff single and a stolen base, arrived home at just about the same time as the ball.

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada appeared to briefly have the ball in his glove, though it immediately squirted out and rolled toward the visiting dugout when he and Howard collided. Replays confirmed that Howard's hand and then his entire body went over the plate without touching it.

Everitt initially made no signal, but once CC Sabathia retrieved the ball and threw to second to attempt to get Feliz, who was advancing on the throw to the plate, the umpire ruled Howard safe. The Yankees could have appealed the play but would have had to do so before the next pitch was thrown.

Howard's tying run marks the latest in a string of tricky or controversial calls by umpiring crews this postseason that could be reviewed with expanded use of replay. On this particular play, no one from the Yankees challenged Everitt's ruling.

"Well, it's hard for me to see," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I had actually heard about it later, but that's just tough for me to see. I can't tell, and I don't have replay, and I'm not sitting up above high where I can see it. Whether he did or not, I still don't really know for sure."

For Howard, the fourth-inning hit snapped a personal 0-for-9 skid that had been building up since his two-hit effort in Game 1.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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