HOUSTON (AP) — Major League Baseball executive Joe Torre says the “right call” was made and that a protest was denied after Nationals leadoff hitter Trea Turner was called out for interference during Washington’s 7-2 Game 6 victory in the World Series on Tuesday night.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez was ejected for arguing plate umpire Sam Holbrook’s ruling in the seventh inning, and Torre said Washington’s request to protest the game was denied because it was a judgment call.
Holbrook’s signal came after Turner hit a slow roller down the third base line with a runner at first and ran narrowly inside fair territory.
Pitcher Brad Peacock fielded the ball, and his throw pulled first baseman Yuli Gurriel toward the baseline. As Gurriel stretched, Turner ran into his glove, and the ball bounced off Turner’s leg and into foul territory. Turner ended up at second, with lead runner Yan Gomes going to third — except Holbrook quickly signaled for interference.
Turner was called out and Gomes sent back to first base. After some argument from Martinez and the Nationals, umpires went to the headsets for 4 ½ minutes before signaling to uphold the call.
The Nationals wanted to pursue a protest, and Turner was heard on television pointing to Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer, in the stands and shouting “He’s right there!” and “Just ask him!”
“The call was the fact that he interfered with Gurriel trying to catch the ball,” Torre said, adding that Holbrook “made the right call at first base.”
Two batters after play resumed, Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer to put Washington ahead 5-2. Eaton added a two-run double for a 7-2 lead in the ninth.
“I didn’t think he was out of the line,” Rendon said, adding he was happy to take a seat and rest during the delay.
Martinez stepped onto the field to talk with Holbrook and crew chief Gary Cederstrom after the inning and quickly became animated. Six weeks after having a heart procedure, Martinez was restrained by bench coach Chip Hale — or at least Hale tried — as the manager kept shouting and eventually was tossed.
Martinez is the first manager to be ejected from a World Series game since Atlanta’s Bobby Cox in 1996.
Torre came onto the field a half-inning later and had a conversation with Cederstrom.
Holbrook’s call was roundly criticized by other players on social media. Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger tweeted it was “just plain ugly,” and Chicago Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber called it “a bad rule,” suggesting MLB should adopt a wider “safety bag” like those used in many slow pitch softball leagues.