Fan interference nixes Altuve HR in Game 5

A controversial fan-interference call stripped Houston Astros designated hitter Jose Altuve of what would have been a game-tying, two-run home run in the first inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday.

The potential home run taken away is significant given that Houston eventually lost the game to the Boston Red Sox by two runs XCHARX 8-6.

Boston now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1 XCHARX meaning they are one win away from reaching the World Series.

After the Sox scored two runs on a first-inning single from Rafael Devers, George Springer reached on a one-out single in the bottom of the frame.

Umpires ruled that Astros fans interfered with Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts as he tried to snag what looked like a home run ball off the bat of Jose Altuve in the first inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday in Houston

Umpires ruled that Astros fans interfered with Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts as he tried to snag what looked like a home run ball off the bat of Jose Altuve in the first inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday in Houston

Umpires ruled that Astros fans interfered with Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts as he tried to snag what looked like a home run ball off the bat of Jose Altuve in the first inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday in Houston

Altuve then launched a 2-1 pitch out to right field for what looked as if it would be a game-tying homer. However, Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts tracked the ball to the wall and made a leaping attempt to catch it

Altuve then launched a 2-1 pitch out to right field for what looked as if it would be a game-tying homer. However, Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts tracked the ball to the wall and made a leaping attempt to catch it

Altuve then launched a 2-1 pitch out to right field for what looked as if it would be a game-tying homer. However, Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts tracked the ball to the wall and made a leaping attempt to catch it

During his attempt, a fan made contact with Betts' glove, and right field umpire Joe West called fan interference. The call was subjected to a lengthy review, after which Major League Baseball ruled the call on the field would stand, meaning there wasn't enough evidence to overturn it

During his attempt, a fan made contact with Betts' glove, and right field umpire Joe West called fan interference. The call was subjected to a lengthy review, after which Major League Baseball ruled the call on the field would stand, meaning there wasn't enough evidence to overturn it

During his attempt, a fan made contact with Betts’ glove, and right field umpire Joe West called fan interference. The call was subjected to a lengthy review, after which Major League Baseball ruled the call on the field would stand, meaning there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn it

The controversial fan-interference call stripped Altuve (above) of what would have been a game-tying, two-run home run

The controversial fan-interference call stripped Altuve (above) of what would have been a game-tying, two-run home run

The controversial fan-interference call stripped Altuve (above) of what would have been a game-tying, two-run home run

Though Betts' catch attempt was affected by the fans, it appeared to come with the ball already outside the field of play, which isn't subject to interference according to Rule 6.01(e)

Though Betts' catch attempt was affected by the fans, it appeared to come with the ball already outside the field of play, which isn't subject to interference according to Rule 6.01(e)

Though BettsXCHARX catch attempt was affected by the fans, it appeared to come with the ball already outside the field of play, which isnXCHARXt subject to interference according to Rule 6.01(e)

Altuve then launched a 2-1 pitch out to right field for what looked as if it would be a game-tying homer.

However, Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts tracked the ball to the wall and made a leaping attempt to catch it.

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During his attempt, a fan made contact with Betts’ glove, and right field umpire Joe West called fan interference.

The call was subjected to a lengthy review, after which Major League Baseball ruled the call on the field would stand, meaning there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn it.

The potential home run taken away is significant given that Houston eventually lost the game to the Boston Red Sox by two runs - 8-6. Boston now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1 - meaning they are one win away from reaching the World Series

The potential home run taken away is significant given that Houston eventually lost the game to the Boston Red Sox by two runs - 8-6. Boston now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1 - meaning they are one win away from reaching the World Series

The potential home run taken away is significant given that Houston eventually lost the game to the Boston Red Sox by two runs XCHARX 8-6. Boston now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1 XCHARX meaning they are one win away from reaching the World Series

Astros manager A.J. Hinch came out to argue the ruling.

Though BettsXCHARX catch attempt was affected by the fans, it appeared to come with the ball already outside the field of play, which isnXCHARXt subject to interference according to Rule 6.01(e):

‘No interference shall be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk. However, should a spectator reach out on the playing field side of such fence, railing or rope, and plainly prevent the fielder from catching the ball, then the batsman should be called out for the spectator’s interference.’

Instead of a homer, Altuve was ruled out.

Red Sox starter Rick Porcello eventually got out of the inning without allowing a run.

The controversial interference call brought back memories of a similar situation that took place during a playoff game over a decade ago.

In 2003, Steve Bartman was blamed for costing his beloved team the Chicago Cubs a chance at a World Series championship.

Bartman shot to infamy when he reached for and deflected a foul ball that Cubs outfielder Moises Alou appeared ready to catch in a pivotal postseason game.

The Cubs – burdened with a reputation as baseball’s lovable losers for decades – went on to lose the game and the series the next night.

Bartman immediately became a symbol of the team’s cursed fortunes.

Last year, the Cubs made a sweet gesture of forgiveness when they gave Bartman a diamond-encrusted ring celebrating their first World Series title in 108 years.

Bartman, a lifelong Chicago area resident who has remained media-shy and even received death threats after the 2003 incident, said in a statement he did not consider himself worthy of the gift.

To be continued

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