Game 19: About the walkoff interference
Not since 2006 had a Major League game ended with a strikeout-inference double play. In a game that featured a pair of two-out, ground-ball RBI singles from Miguel Cabrera, and a home run and a double from Rajai Davis, it was probably fitting.
It happened with a runner on first, one out, Jose Abreu at the plate, and Adam Dunn looming as the potential tying run on deck if Abreu reached base. Abreu didn’t, striking out on a high fastball to end a 10-pitch battle with Joe Nathan.
His reaction, however, was what ended it. Either from frustration or momentum, Abreu stumbled out over the plate on his follow-through as catcher Bryan Holaday tried to throw to second, where Marcus Semien had gotten a jump on the pitch. The throw bounced off Semien and got away from Ian Kinsler covering the bag, but plate umpire Dan Iassogna had already called interference.
The call invokes Rule 7.09(e), which includes under the definition of interference:
Any batter or runner who has just been put out, or any runner who has just scored, hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate.
Otherwise, a batter who strikes out wouldn’t have a lot of discouragement from trying to get in a way of a throw.
The call doesn’t fall under the list of plays that can be considered on replay, so there was no challenge. White Sox manager Robin Ventura headed out for an explanation, but didn’t put up much of an argument. He confirmed the interference call to reporters afterwards, as did Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.
“I did not get an explanation; I was trying to get into the clubhouse as quick as possible before they changed their mind,” Ausmus said. “But my take was that the batter interfered with Doc Holaday’s throw to second. I knew that was the end of the game.”
According to research from STATS, it was the first such ending to a game since Aug. 8, 2006, when then-Ranger Mark DeRosa struck out and supposedly interfered with A’s catcher Jason Kendall as he tried to throw out Jerry Hairston Jr. taking second. That was actually a one-run game at the time; Hairston was actually the potential tying run.