TORONTO (AP) — A deflected throw back to the mound by Toronto catcher Russell Martin allowed Texas to score the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning, touching off a long delay and causing the Blue Jays to play Game 5 of the AL Division Series under protest.
Fans littered the field with debris during the 18-minute delay Wednesday in the deciding game of the series as umpires sorted out one of the most unusual plays in playoff history.
Benches then cleared twice in the bottom half as Toronto took a 6-3 lead.
With Odor at third base and two outs in the top of the seventh, Martin’s throw back to the mound appeared to hit the hand of batter Shin-Soo Choo, allowing Odor to sprint home as the ball rolled up the third base line for a 3-2 lead.
Home plate umpire Dale Scott initially ruled it a dead ball but, after Rangers manager Jeff Banister came out, the umpires huddled and Odor was sent home.
According to rule Major League Baseball rule 6.03(a)(3), the batter is not to be charged with interfering with the catcher if the batter is still in the batter’s box and doesn’t make a movement to block or disrupt the throw.
This type of play is not subject to manager’s review but Scott, the crew chief, after discussing the ruling with Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, called an umpire’s review. After a delay of 2 minutes, 32 seconds, the play stood and fans continued to throw objects on the field.
Toronto Mayor John Tory tweeted, “Don’t hurt each other or our city over this. We can prove ourselves in more ways than one. #ComeTogether”
Things devolved further in the bottom half as the Rangers made three errors to load the bases with none out.
Texas then requested a review on next play, when Ben Revere grounded into a force at home. Dalton Pompey slid hard into catch Chris Gimemez, who was standing on home plate. Umpires upheld the ruling.
But after Sam Dyson replaced Cole Hamels, Josh Donaldson drove in a run on a forceout and Jose Bautista hit a long homer to put Toronto up 6-3.
When on-deck batter Edwin Encarcion turned to the crowd and gestured for them to stop throwing objects on field, Dyson misunderstood Encarnacion’s actions and the players had words, causing the benches to clear.
Twenty police officers lined the outfield and many more were stationed down the lines during the delay.
Benches cleared a second time after Troy Tulowitzki popped out foul to end the inning.