NEW YORK — Replay confirmed umpires were correct on a controversial call that occurred late in the Baltimore Orioles‘ 14-inning 7-3 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night at Yankee Stadium, according to the crew chief Jerry Meals.
On the play in question, Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius was attempting to score from third base in the bottom of the 11th inning on a two-out wild pitch from Orioles reliever Mychal Givens. The run would have given the Yankees the win.
As Gregorius dove into home plate, Givens, while falling onto his backside, caught a return throw from catcher Caleb Joseph.
It appeared Givens was on the ground, blocking Gregorius’ access to the plate a split second before he caught the ball from Joseph, and just as the baserunner — in mid-dive — reached for the plate. Gregorius didn’t quite get to home in time, as the pair made hard contact.
Plate umpire Ed Hickox waited a moment after the contact to see if Givens held onto the ball. When he saw the ball still in Givens’ glove, Hickox called Gregorius out, prompting the Yankees to challenge the call, arguing Givens had illegally blocked Gregorius’ path to score.
“I thought he did block the plate before he got there. We certainly thought that,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I understand that’s a difficult call to make in that situation.
“It didn’t go our way.”
In a statement to a pool reporter, Meals said the replay confirmed Hickox made the correct call.
“Replay has the ultimate voice in that, and there was no blocking the plate,” Meals said. “He, in that situation, the player is deemed to be occupying the area to save the ball, and/or has the ball.”
Asked if Givens had to possess the ball before stepping in Gregorius’ way, Meals said no.
“He doesn’t have to,” Meals said. “If he’s going to receive the ball in that situation, then he’s allowed to occupy that space if he’s in the act of receiving it.”
The Yankees were disappointed in the ruling, but they were at least glad the play didn’t cost them their shortstop.
“Thought Didi got a good jump on it,” right fielder Aaron Judge said. “Bang-bang play at home plate. I’m just glad Didi’s OK, and not hurt.”
In addition to that play, there was another controversial one in the sixth inning involving Yankees duo Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez. New York was incorrectly the beneficiary of that call, Meals said.
Stanton began the play in question at third base and Sanchez was at first. With one out, Neil Walker hit a ground ball back to Orioles pitcher Richard Bleier, who ran toward Stanton, getting him into a rundown. While Stanton went back and forth between third and home, Sanchez advanced to third base.
Just as Sanchez arrived at third, Stanton decided to go back to the base, too. Seeing Sanchez there, he kept running up the baseline in the direction of the left-field corner. Joseph tagged him out.
Only one out was given, but per MLB rules, two should have been awarded.
Sanchez should’ve automatically been called out for having essentially passed Stanton on the bases. Once the tag was applied to Stanton, he would’ve been declared out, too. That all means the play should have ended in a double play. It didn’t happen that way.
After a lengthy discussion among the umpires that included a vociferous argument from Orioles manager Buck Showalter, the ruling of one lone out — Stanton — stood.
The MLB rulebook actually cites a similar example of a trail runner (Sanchez) reaching a base while the lead runner (Stanton) is in a rundown. The rule says, “the trailing runner is out and third base is unoccupied. The lead runner is entitled to third base if he returns to touch it before he is out … unless he is declared out for abandoning the bases.”
The umpires misinterpreted the rule in the heat of the moment.
“What we had on the field, what Ronnie [third-base umpire Ron Kulpa] had on the field, was as soon as Stanton ran by him into foul territory there, he had him out for abandoning his effort, which gave Sanchez the base so when they tagged him, he wasn’t out.
“That was our explanation on the field. We were incorrect. The ruling is when a runner from second, in that situation when a runner from second has occupied third and the lead runner goes beyond third base to the outfield or wherever, runs past it, the interpretation is the runner from second is past that runner, the lead runner, so he is out automatically without being tagged.
“Sanchez should have been out automatically for passing Stanton.”
Oakland A’s clinch third straight playoff berth, but ‘a lot bigger goals’ remain
OAKLAND, Calif. — An AL West title will mean so much more than simply clinching a playoff berth given how the past two seasons have gone for the Oakland Athletics.
Then, the A’s might let loose and celebrate a little. But not just yet.
“Clinching the playoffs is the goal every single year. Exciting, but winning the division I think is going to be a lot better for us,” winning pitcher Chris Bassitt said. “It was literally another win. We have a lot bigger goals.”
The A’s scoreboard read “Postseason Bound” high above the cardboard cutouts of fans filling the Oakland Coliseum.
Oakland is in the playoffs for the sixth time in nine seasons and now shifts its attention to the division title, which could be locked up Saturday. The A’s haven’t won the West since 2013, winning 97 games each of the past two seasons to finish in second place behind Houston and before losing the AL wild-card game both years.
Olson connected in the third inning of a balanced offensive attack for the A’s in the opener of the second round of the 2020 Bay Bridge Series.
Jake Lamb‘s RBI single in the first staked Bassitt to a quick lead. The right-hander struck out seven over 6 2/3 innings to win his third straight start.
“He’s been absolutely terrific,” manager Bob Melvin said, “probably as consistent as we’ve had all year.”
San Francisco hardly had to travel far to continue its road trip. The Giants were scheduled for games in Seattle earlier this week but smoke from all the West Coast wildfires created dangerous air quality and the clubs instead played at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Wednesday and Thursday. `
The A’s played a Monday doubleheader in Seattle, and players expressed concern about the air.
“The air quality is much better than we last saw it here, it certainly is better than Seattle, too,” Melvin said.
Right fielder Stephen Piscotty missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right knee. The A’s were going to put him through batting practice to determine his status for Saturday.
Also, right-hander Daniel Mengden was medically cleared from a positive COVID-19 test Aug. 28. He has been asymptomatic throughout and resumed throwing off the mound at the club’s San Jose alternate site Friday. He is slated for a simulated game Saturday.
Left-hander Jesus Luzardo starts for the A’s on Saturday afternoon, looking to end a four-start winless stretch in which he is 0-2.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols passes Willie Mays on all-time home run list
The 40-year-old Pujols connected for a solo homer with one out in the fifth inning. He sent Wes Benjamin‘s fastball on a 1-2 count over the wall in left field.
Pujols has hit five homers this season. He tied Mays last Sunday at Colorado.
It is only Pujols’ second home run since Aug. 4. He now trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696).
The Angels quickly congratulated Pujols on Twitter.
Congratulations, Albert. What an incredible accomplishment 🙌 pic.twitter.com/dxQObF7tI8
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) September 19, 2020
Pujols has one more season left on his contract with the Angels after this year.
Benjamin was the 428th different pitcher Pujols homered against in his career. Only Bonds has homered against more (449).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
St. Louis Cardinals put pitcher Dakota Hudson on IL with forearm strain
Hudson left his start Thursday night after two innings due to what he described as discomfort in his right arm.
The 26-year-old is 3-2 with a 2.77 ERA in eight starts this season.
St. Louis added right-handed reliever Nabil Crismatt to take Hudson’s roster spot. Crismatt has a 3.24 ERA in 8 1/3 innings over six appearances this season.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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