Things only got worse when (Robby) Thompson went to pull Wilhelmsen.
After calling timeout, and heading from the dugout to the mound, Thompson thought he signaled for right-hander Yoervis Medina, who was warming in the bullpen along with lefty Oliver Perez. Thompson said he pointed to the bullpen with his left arm and then tapped his right arm with the left hand – his signal he wanted the right-hander.
“Normally, when I go to whoever I want, I tap,” Thompson said simulating the motion.
However, home plate umpire David Rackley saw Thompson pointing with the left-hand as a signal for Perez. Medina, who was jogging in, was sent back to the bullpen and Perez was forced to come in the game.
Crew chief Gary Darling stepped in and squashed Thompson’s protests.
“Gary said you made a motion with your left hand, but I said I wanted to go to my right arm,” Thompson said. “They didn’t see it that way. We wanted to go to Medina there. And then Ollie was the next guy.”
Perez was just as confused in the bullpen.
“(The umpires) said it was the lefty but I saw (Thompson) signal for the righty,” Perez said. “I’ve never had that happen to me before. But I was ready.”
The umpires ruling shouldn’t have mattered. Perez is equally adept at getting out right-handers as he is left-handed hitters. And the Mariners simply needed outs of any kind with a four-run lead.
Perez couldn’t get the outs.