White Sox say MLB told them umps could have used discretion on interference call


The White Sox discussed the infield fly and interference call that ended an 8-6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles with Major League Baseball and were told there is room for umpires to use judgment, general manager Chris Getz said.

“I certainly have not seen something like that before, and to end the game the way that it happened was disappointing because we didn't get a chance to build off of the momentum in the ninth inning,” Getz said Friday. “That certainly was the most disappointing part. The uniqueness of how everything unfolded, the umpires were very confident in the calls that they made. I believe they remain confident and are sticking behind that.”

Chicago trailed 8-2 entering the ninth inning on Thursday. The White Sox scored four runs and had runners on first and second when Andrew Benintendi hit a popup against Craig Kimbrel to shortstop Gunnar Henderson.

Umpires called an infield fly and ruled the runner at second - Andrew Vaughn - interfered with Henderson, ending the game. Henderson, who was coming from behind, went around Vaughn as the runner retreated toward second. Vaughn was standing on the base as Henderson camped under the ball and made the catch on the infield grass.

Third base umpire Junior Valentine made the game-ending call, and White Sox manager Pedro Grifol came out to argue to no avail. Crew chief Adrian Johnson said there is no discretion when a baserunner appears to make incidental contact with a fielder - even if the play results in a defensive out. But Getz said MLB told him otherwise.

“It's a judgment call,” he said. “There's discretion by the umpire to make that call or not. He made the call and we've got to live with it.”

Grifol wouldn't say if the league told the White Sox the umpires made the correct - or incorrect - call. But he made it clear he thought umpires got it wrong.

“The rule's written a certain way, and I understand the way it's written - and it's black and white,” Grifol said. “Nothing in the game is black and white. There's a lot of gray. Yesterday, in that particular play, there was a ton of gray. The easiest thing to do was runner on first and second, two out, Kimbrel's got to get the next guy out.”

Grifol also called on the league to provide some more clarity on plays like the one that ended Thursday's game. He said the play could lead to fielders initiating contact with runners in similar instances.

“This is going to happen again,” he said. “I haven't seen it in 30 years. But now that it happened, I guarantee you we'll see it again because everybody around the league looks at situations like this to create some form of advantage for their club, to get a couple outs in a situation like this.”