Source – MLB questions end-of-game call in White Sox loss

The Baltimore Orioles held on to beat the Chicago White Sox 8-6 on Thursday night, with the game ended due to a controversial runner’s interference. The crew chief said the umpire had no choice but to make the call, but MLB says that may not be the case.

With two on and one out in the bottom of the ninth, Andrew Benintendi came up. Shortstop Gunnar Henderson caught the ball β€” and the umpires had called a pitch fly β€” for the second out, then third base umpire Junior Valentine ruled that Andrew Vaughn interfered with Henderson on the play.

After the game, crew chief Adrian Johnson said there is no discretion when a starter appears to make casual contact with a player β€” even if the play results in a defensive out.

β€œIf a player obstructs while trying to throw a batted ball, intent is not required and it is an interference,” Johnson said. β€œWhen you see overlap, you name it.”

Rule 6.01(a) appears to support the following: β€œA runner who is adjudged to have obstructed a player attempting to play a batted ball whether intentional or not.”

But a source told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers that MLB reached out to the White Sox after the game to say the umpires had discretion on that play and it was not necessary to call that interference.

“It was a big surprise,” said Vonn, who was the second-place runner and disqualified. “I don’t feel like he was deterred from making a play. It was a loud popup. We were all reading it. As a runner, I’ve got to read it and make sure I can get back to the bag.”

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White Sox manager Pedro Grifol argued heatedly with the umpires at the conclusion of the stunning final sequence.

Sure enough, there was confusion, and the play ended the rally for the White Sox, who scored four runs in the ninth inning.

β€œI felt like we ran away there,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.

The White Sox, who have won just one of their past seven games, will once again try to gain steam during their seven-game homestand that begins Thursday night. The Orioles snapped their worst three-game losing streak of the season by winning the series opener.

On Friday, right-hander Corbin Burns (4-2, 2.56 ERA) will start for the Orioles, snapping back-to-back wins after holding the Seattle Mariners without a gain in six innings of Baltimore’s 6-3 win on Sunday. He hit 11 for the second time this season.

β€œI’m happy with the way my stuff looks,” Burns said. “Happy with the way the ball came out. Can’t really complain about that.”

Right-hander Chris Flexen (2-4, 5.48 ERA) will be on the mound in Chicago, trying to bounce back from a tough Sunday outing against the New York Yankees. He allowed seven runs on eight hits in four innings in Chicago’s 7-2 loss.

β€œIt’s just a matter of executing the plays,” Flexen said.

In three starts against Baltimore, Flexen is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA. The loss came in August while he was a member of the Colorado Rockies.

Information from the Associated Press and field media was used in this report.

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