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Ruling goes against Rox in tough loss

Ruling goes against Rox in tough loss

PHILADELPHIA -- One hand equaled two runs, which equaled a half-game lost in the standings for the Rockies on Monday night.

A possible fourth-inning grand slam for catcher Yorvit Torrealba was ruled a two-run ground-rule double when the ball bounced off the hand of a fan above the right-field fence at Citizens Bank Park. The Rockies could have used those other runs.

They blew a three-run lead in the seventh and lost the opener of four games with the Phillies, 6-5, in 10 innings in front of 25,046.

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The Rockies fell 3 1/2 games behind the National League Wild Card-leading Padres. The Phillies, who won when Ryan Howard doubled into the left-field corner off Taylor Buchholz (6-5) to score Chase Utley from first base in the 10th, pulled to 1 1/2 games off the Wild Card pace.

The disputed loss came on a night when shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hit his 20th home run of the season, a solo shot off Phils starter Kyle Lohse, to break Ernie Banks' 1954 record for NL rookie shortstops.

Also, Matt Holliday gave the Rockies a 5-2 lead in the seventh with a two-run shot off Jose Mesa for his team-leading 27th homer of the season, and rookie Ubaldo Jimenez held the Phillies to two runs -- one on Howard's 38th homer of the season -- and four hits in six innings.

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle convinced the umpires to have a conference after first-base umpire Mike DiMuro ruled spectator interference. It didn't turn out the way he wanted. The game began turning the way the Rockies didn't want in the bottom of the seventh, when Pat Burrell tied it with a three-run shot off Jorge Julio -- who entered with two down, after LaTroy Hawkins and Jeremy Affeldt couldn't finish the inning.

"The most important thing is to get the call right," Hurdle said. "I don't think they got the call right. I held out hope, but I haven't gone out there and won one of those things yet this year."

Hurdle said he believed DiMuro signaled for a home run, but umpiring crew chief John Hirschbeck said he did not see such a signal.

"The thing is to Mike's credit, he busted his butt [running to get close enough to make the call] -- he was way out there on the ball," Hirschbeck said. "And then Clint asked him -- he had an argument, it's a close call. We're supposed to get together, which we did, and none of us saw anything enough to change the opinion of the crew, or Mike's."

Ever since an early season road trip when the Rockies lost two home runs, one in Cincinnati and one in St. Louis, on balls that replays showed hit objects beyond the wall, Hurdle has called for baseball to use instant replay on such calls. He said Monday "not many people are big on it," although he is.

Hirschbeck agreed with Hurdle that Citizens Bank Park is one of the recently built, "fan friendly" venues that makes calls tough because fans are able to reach into the field of play.

The ground rules for Citizens Bank Park, or at least those listed in an official Major League Baseball publication, the National League Green Book, offer no clarity.

That listing says on balls hit to left field, "Ball strikes spectator in fair territory: Home Run." There is no such listing pertaining to rght field. Hirschbeck, who said the pregame meeting before a series opener at Citizens Bank Park "takes three or four minutes" because of the stadium's quirks, said the umpires have to rule whether the ball would have cleared the chain-link fence above the out-of-town scoreboard.

The Rockies will have to shed any hard feelings, since they've got struggling prospect Franklin Morales starting Tuesday and because of injuries aren't certain who their starter will be Wednesday.

Torrealba was not in a mood to brood the call.

"I just hit it and was running," said Torrealba, who went 2-for-3 after having hit .188 in his previous 101 at-bats. "I didn't know what was going to happen. I hit it good, but I wasn't expecting the ball to be out of the ballpark. I don't really have time to watch a replay."

The Rockies outhit the Phillies, 11-8. With two on in the top of the 10th, Phillies reliever Brett Myers (4-6) worked pinch-hitter Ian Stewart into a ground ball with a runner at third.

Thomas Harding 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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