Fan interference wipes out possible homer for Altuve in ALCS

Bob Levey  Getty Images

Bob Levey Getty Images

Houston Astros fans were furious after umps called spectator interference on a ball that was hit over the right field wall by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the first inning of Wednesday night's Game 4 of the ALCS.

Altuve said he had nothing against Caldwell, and would do the same thing as a fan and try to catch a ball. It happens all the time, with first and third baseman leaning into the stands to catch foul pop ups, yet it's such a fixable problem.

"He just said there was fan interference on the field", Hinch said of West's explanation to him for the call.

Astros manager AJ Hinch cracked a joke when asked if there were enough cameras at the ballpark to properly review plays like Altuve's hit.

"That was a ball I could catch", he added. 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". He does so at his own risk.

The question at play with Betts is whether he reached over the fence, or whether the fans reached over the fence. "I'm 100% positive I was going to be able to catch that one", he said.

The Astros recovered from that early gut punch to take the lead - including homers by George Springer and Tony Kemp well over that same right field wall.

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The rule further states that "no interference shall be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball". The ball then glanced off the side of Betts' glove and touched fans trying to get it.

"I'm not sure if Mookie makes that catch".

Major League Baseball rules say that fans can't be called for interference if the player reaches over the fence or into the stands. Mookie's glove is closed.

Originally, umpires ruled Altuve was out via fan interference. Now Houston's chances to repeat as World Series champions are almost out of reach after an 8-6 loss on Wednesday night that put the Red Sox ahead 3-1 in the best-of-seven matchup. So, it comes down to whether the fan reached over the yellow line on top of the outfield fence or not. They matched the Red Sox run-for-run throughout the game and even had the bases loaded in the ninth.

Caldwell's immediate concern was for his safety, after being involved in a play that might have helped cost his team a crucial win.

"As long as the Astros come back and win this we'll be all right", Caldwell said.

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