The most controversial call of the World Series ended up not mattering in the Washington Nationals’ 7-2 win in Game 6 on Tuesday, but people still have plenty to say about the moment and the umpires’ subsequent conduct.
The short story is that Nationals shortstop Trea Turner hit a slow grounder in the top of the seventh inning after catcher Yan Gomes reached first. Houston Astros pitcher Brad Peacock fielded the ball and threw it to first baseman Yuli Gurriel, but the throw forced Gurriel to extend his glove well to the left.
The speedy Turner spent most of his run to first in fair territory by a significant amount, but eventually corrected course enough that his left foot hit the middle of first base. He still collided with Gurriel’s glove as it caught the ball, resulting in the ball popping up out and the Nationals getting runners at second and third with no outs in a game that they were leading 3-2.
However, the umpires then called Turner out and ordered Gomes back to first. Turner was ruled to have interfered with Gurriel because he ran in fair territory. Nationals manager Dave Martinez was apoplectic about the call, which also saw a five-minute delay as the umpires consulted the rulebook.
Anthony Rendon made it all a moot point two batters later with a two-run homer that broke the game open, but one of the game’s biggest moments being defined by an obscure rule that is rarely applied and a lengthy delay was a bad look for the entire sport.
Astros manager sides with Nationals: ‘It was an errant throw’
The situation was so ridiculous that even Astros manager A.J. Hinch sided with the Nationals on Wednesday ahead of Game 7.
“That one I wish common sense prevails. Because I actually side with Turner on this one, that I didn't think that he was getting in the way of anything. It was an errant throw,” Hinch said to reporters.
Hinch also indicated after the game Tuesday that he felt the umpires needing so much time to confirm what they were doing was a problem.
“It took a really long time for nothing to happen,” Hinch said. “I knew the rule, what he called, an interference. It's not a reviewable call. You can't protest it. You can't really do anything, and yet they go to the headset.”
Thankfully, none of that should matter going forward, unless the umpires want to make it matter. We’ll see what ends up happening in Game 7.
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