The Houston Astros dropped Game 3 of the American League Division Series to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday night. These two teams went blow for blow, ultimately ending in 12-6 victory in favor of the White Sox.
In what could be deemed as the turning point of the game, the fourth inning was full of pure shenanigans; none of which fell in the favor of the Astros.
The fourth inning was packed with interesting pitching decisions by manager Dusty Baker, soft ground balls finding holes and some inconsistent ball and strike calls. However, it was a debate on an interference call that really puts the icing on the fourth inning cake.
In his first postseason relief appearance of his career, Zack Greinke induced a routine ground ball from Yasmani Grandal. With runners on the corners, Yuli Gurriel cleanly fielded the slow roller and fired to home nab the lead runner.
Gurriel’s throw deflected off the shoulder of Grandal, causing the ball to miss Maldonado at home. The lead runner, Luis Robert, slid into home (knocking over home plate umpire Tom Hallion) and scoring the run.
Greinke and Maldonado immediately appealed to umpires that Grandal had moved into the base path. Grandal was struck by the ball prior to reaching the double-lined area, which a baserunner must run through.
In the postgame, Hallion said that he and the umpire crew had determined that Grandal’s contact with Gurriel’s throw to the plate was unintentional. Despite what was seen on camera, the umpiring crew decided that Grandal established a base running path, didn’t veer off or throw his shoulder into the ball.
7.08 (a) (1)
He runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely.
This was not a reviewable play. Therefore, it was ultimately the judgement call of the crew on the field. Dusty Baker was livid, coming out of the dugout to argue for a bit before retreating back to the dugout.