In the top of the 6th inning in Sun Life Stadium with a score of 2-2 and no outs, Ryan Howard was on first base and Pence came up to bat.
He hit the ball into far right field where Florida Marlins Bryan Peterson was waiting.
Peterson jumped up near the wall to grab the ball, but it fell off his glove and Pence was given the double.
However, Peterson immediately called for fan interference.
According to baseball rule 3.16 "If spectator interference clearly prevents a fielder from catching a fly ball, the ball is dead and the umpire shall declare the ball out."
However, Pence remained at second, as crew chief Joe West motioned for an instant replay review of the play.
This is where the controversy grew.
According to Major League Baseball, instant replay can only be used in determining home run calls.
In fact, the rulebook states, "Instant replay will apply only to home run calls -- whether they are fair or foul, whether they have left the playing field, or whether they have been subject to fan interference. The decision to use instant replay will be made by the umpire crew chief, who also will make the determination as to whether or not a call should be reversed. The decision to reverse a call will be at the sole discretion of the crew chief. The standard used by the crew chief when reviewing a play will be whether there is clear and convincing evidence that the umpire's decision on the field was incorrect and should be reversed."
When West and the rest of the umpire crew came back on the field after review, Pence was called out and Howard was told to go back to first.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel immediately came out to dispute the call and was ejected from the game.
Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin also came to talk to the umpires.
Phillies commentator Tom McCarthy said during the broadcast, "Replay got the call right, but I don't know if replay should have been used for this particular call."
Manuel declared the Phillies from then on were playing the game under protest.
According to Mike Berardino of Sun-Sentinel.com West says Marlins manager Jack McKeon came out to argue Hunter Pence's double off the right field wall should be ruled an out while Phillies manager Charlie Manuel wanted West to huddle with his crew to determine whether it should have been a home run.
"Because [the Phillies] wanted me to go look to see if it was a home run, I've got to judge whether it went over the fence or not," West said. "But the plate umpire [Chad Fairchild] already thought it was spectator interference. So now we go look at the replay, we have to take all the evidence we get from the replay. That's why we came out with, 'This is the correct ruling.' "
Manuel, Berardino writes, continued to maintain after the game that he never asked for replay review of a possible home run.
So the questionable replay took place and the Phillies protested the game.
A game under protest could ultimately be played over and reverted back to the time (inning and score) of the incident in question, i.e. Hunter Pence's double.
Action News sports reporter Jeff Skversky tweeted Sunday night, "Phillies have 24 hours in which to formally submit written protest to @mlb. It's reviewed [and] MLB gives written response on their decision."
According to Major League Baseball, here is the official rule concerning protesting games:
"Each league shall adopt rules governing procedure for protesting a game, when a manager claims that an umpire's decision is in violation of these rules. No protest shall ever be permitted on judgment decisions by the umpire. In all protested games, the decision of the League President shall be final. Even if it is held that the protested decision violated the rules, no replay of the game will be ordered unless in the opinion of the League President the violation adversely affected the protesting team?s chances of winning the game.
Rule 4.19 Comment: Whenever a manager protests a game because of alleged misapplication of the rules the protest will not be recognized unless the umpires are notified at the time the play under protest occurs and before the next pitch, play or attempted play. A protest arising on a game-ending play may be filed until 12 noon the following day with the league office."
Today's game was not the first Phillies game to involve a protest.
One such game happened over 40 years ago.
On August 1, 1971, the St. Louis Cardinals protested their game against the Philadelphia Phillies. In the 12th inning, with a score of 3-3, the Cardinals earned 3 more runs. However, after a rain delay, that game was to resume - but back to a 3-3 tie. Before the game could resume, zambonis used to clear away the water broke down. The Cardinals protested the game.The protest was upheld, and six days later the game resumed 6-3 in favor of St. Louis. The Cardinals ended up defeating the Phillies 9-6 in 13 innings.
One famous game played under protest is dubbed the Pine Tar Incident in 1983. It was a game between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees. Yankees manager Billy Martin told the umpires to check the bat of Royals' George Brett for the amount of pine tar; this just after Brett hit a 2-run home run in the top of the ninth with two outs. The umpires examined the bat and determined it indeed exceeded the allowed amount of pine tar. Home plate umpire Tim McClelland called Brett out and his home run was erased. After seeing he was just called out, Brett ran from the dugout and was restrained by Royals Manager Dick Howser and his teammates. With Brett called out, the Yankees won the game 4-3.
The Royals protested the game and American League president Lee MacPhail upheld their protest saying " that even though Brett's bat had too much pine tar, only the bat should have been removed from the game, not the batter." The game was restarted almost a month later with the Royals winning 5- 4 thanks to Brett's home run.
In 1986, the Pittsburgh Pirates' protested a game against the St. Louis Cardinals because they felt the game was called off too soon due to rain. They lost the game 4-1. National League President Charles Feeney ordered the game be resumed two days later from the point of the game the rain delay was called. The Pirates still lost.
After the two spectators were ejected, University of South Florida students and Phillies fans Alex Dicandio and Augie Fitzhenry told their side of the story to the Sun Sentinal.
In the interview, Dicandio says, "It's pretty crazy what happens in the heat of the moment, when you go after a ball and then all of sudden, now everybody hates you."
As for Sunday's game itself, the Marlins defeated the Phillies 5-4 in the 14th inning off a bases loaded walk.