CHICAGO – Chicago White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal claimed he did not intentionally get in the way of a throw from Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel to catcher Martin Maldonado as he ran to first base during a key moment in the game. fourth inning of Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Sunday night.
“I wish I could tell you it was a normal play,” Grandal said after the White Sox win 12-6 to avoid elimination in the best-of-five series. “He didn’t even know he was running that far down the line. Actually, he was just trying to get to first.”
The Sox were leading 7-6 with runners on first and third and no outs when Grandal grounded out Gurriel, who tried to throw out Luis Robert at the plate.
As the Sox catcher ran to first while on the grass to the left of the line, he was hit by the ball that hit the plate where he waited to receive Maldonado. The ball drifted away from the Astros catcher, allowing Robert to score and the inning to continue without the Astros getting an out. Houston claimed interference.
“I tried to argue that he got in the way,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said.
Interference would be called in only if Grandal intentionally got in the way of the shot. The six referees gathered on the grass of the box and finally declared that there was no intention.
“We decided there was no interference because on that play, where the ball is hit into the infield and then back to the plate, that 45-foot line doesn’t even come into play,” said refereeing crew chief Tom Hallion. “The batter made his way to base when he got out of the batter’s box and started running. He didn’t drift. He didn’t throw his shoulder. He didn’t do anything intentional to get hit with that ball.”
The play is different than if the pitch went to first to reach Grandal. Then you would be subject to unintended interference, but clay pigeon shooting is no different than one at any other base. If it hits the runner, it is a live ball and is not called interference.
“He was arguing the fact that, especially him, being a catcher, he knows what he’s doing,” Baker said. “I mean, that was a smart play on their part, and that was the explanation they gave me that they didn’t see anything wrong with the play.”
White Sox manager Tony La Russa insisted the ball hit Grandal accidentally and unintentionally.
“There is no way I could do that on purpose,” La Russa said. “I guarantee that there was no intention to interfere with that play. I can guarantee it.”
The Sox scored another run in the inning and then added three more in the eighth to become the first team to score at least 10 runs in a playoff game and strike out at least 15 batters in the same game. Houston struck out a total of 16 times overnight, but the game was still in doubt when Grandal’s play occurred, helping keep the series alive for the home team.
“It takes me a long time to get there [primera base]So when I hit the ball, I look down, “Grandal said.” When I look up, I see the ball coming straight at me. I try to pull away and he hits me. “