- Wallace Matthews, ESPN Staff Writer
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For his final decision, umpire Tim Welke, who felt very strongly both ways about Andy Dirks' RBI bloop double in the fifth inning of today's Yankees-Tigers game, determined that the way things worked out is the way they should have worked out.
Welke at first signalled that Dirks' ball was foul, then quickly changed that to fair as the ball kicked up chalk from the left-field foul line, a play that temporarily put the Tigers in the lead and got Joe Girardi ejected from the game after an entertaining and highly-unusual display of emotion from the Yankees manager.
Speaking to a pool reporter after the game, Welke said: "I started to put my hands up in the air -- I was a little quick -- then I saw the ball hit the chalk line, and I pointed fair about three times."
As for Girardi's contention that Welke's original call caused left fielder Raul Ibanez to pull up and allow Quintin Berry to score from first, Welke said, "I don't think it had any impact. I've watched the replay, and I don't think there was any impact on the outfielder. I don't think Ibanez ever even saw me. We got the call right."
Welke confirmed Girardi's claim that his desire to protest the game was rebuffed by the crew, of which Welke is the crew chief. "Joe thought it was a protestable situation, but it was a judgment call,'' Welke said. "He wanted to play the game under protest, and that was most of the discussion."
The Yankees went on to win the game, 4-3, so it really doesn't matter, anyway.