After the Red Sox plated two runs in the top of the first inning, Houston responded with a George Springer single and what appeared to be a Jose Altuve home run to tie the game at two. "My hand was right here and it hit my hand so it was a home run, no matter what". The official ruling on spectator interference is as follows:: "If spectator interference clearly prevents a fielder from catching a fly ball, the umpire shall declare the batter out".
There's a lot to look at here.
But crew chief Joe West, working the right-field line at Minute Maid Park, signaled fan interference after Betts was unable to make a jumping grab and the ball ricocheted back onto the field.
Betts and the Red Sox then protested that the fan interfered with the catch, and after a long conference, the umpires decided that it was fan interference. Nearly immediately, the call was reviewed by Major League Baseball's replay crew in NY.
Twitter went nuts over the ruling.
Controversy came early in Wednesday night's Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. "Jose paid the ultimate price for something out of his control".
West stood by his call after the game.
The Red Sox would go on to an 8-6 win. And, given the razor-thin margin of the game four loss for the Astros, it could wind up being the call that ends the Astros run at a second straight World Series.
According to MLB Rule 3.16, "When there is spectator interference with any thrown or batted ball, the ball shall be dead at the moment of interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference".
"He just said there was fan interference on the field", Hinch said of West's explanation to him for the call. "I'm not sure if Mookie makes that catch, a great athlete, but how it's an assumed out is unbelievable".
"I was pretty positive I was going to be able to catch it", Betts said after the game. It's hard to tell if Betts reached into the stands or the fans reached over the wall or if they met directly at the wall.
A fan wearing an orange Astros jersey, who identified himself as Troy Caldwell, insisted he wasn't reaching out over the yellow line atop the 7-foot-high fence when the ball hit his hand. "That's not how the game plays". "I don't understand what happened".