The second time was the charm for the Royals' first baseman, but just barely. Butler's two-out fly off Chad Cordero chased Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki back to the fence, and when Ichiro couldn't make a leaping grab, it bounced off the top of the wall and was ruled a double.
That changed minutes later, when Royals manager Ned Yost came out to argue and officials reviewed the poke on video replay, overturning the call to give Butler his ninth home run of the season.
"The ball disappeared," Yost said. "The ball went over the fence and came right back, and I thought it bounced off the screen there. But there's a concrete ledge or something there that [first-base umpire Paul Nauert] said it hit and bounced back over. But I thought it was definitely a home run."
Major League Baseball instituted instant replay in 2008, and it's used to review whether home runs are fair or foul, whether fan interference took place and to see if a ball left the playing field, as was the case with Butler's homer.
"I didn't know if it hit his glove or what," Butler said. "I just kept running and I saw [first-base coach Rusty Kuntz] say something to the umpire. Obviously when they went and checked on it, it hit the concrete right behind the wall. They got it right and that's the positive thing about having a replay. A couple of years ago when they didn't have replay, it would've been a double."
The blast atoned for Butler's earlier mistake. When his deep liner to left bounced off the elevated scoreboard in the sixth inning, he wasn't left with enough time to leg out a double. Butler was slow returning to first after rounding the bag, which allowed Seattle second baseman Chone Figgins to throw him out.
But his double-turned-homer put the stamp on the Royals' win, which polished off a three-game sweep, and there was no argument from Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu about the call.
"We thought it was a home run from the start," the Seattle skipper said. "It just went over Ichi's glove, just over the fence and kicked back."
Mike McCall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less