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Umpire stands by controversial call taking away Jose Altuve homer

Rob Bradford
October 17, 2018 - 9:29 pm

HOUSTON -- It didn't take long for more controversy to surface in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

With one out and a runner on first base in the bottom of the first inning, Jose Altuve lofted a long fly ball to right field. Just as the ball was about to enter the stands Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts leaped and appeared to knock it back into the field of play. 

Right field umpire Joe West immediately signaled Altuve was out, claiming fan interference. After a challenge from the Astros, the call was upheld.

While it was clear a fan had make contact with Betts' glove as he was going for the ball, it was unclear if the outfielder had extended himself over the home run line. If Betts' glove did leave the field of play than the spectator was in his right to interfere. West (and the replay officials) determined the glove didn't cross the yellow line atop the wall.

"Here's the whole play, here's the whole play," West told a pool reporter after the game. "He hit the ball to right field. He jumped up to try to make the catch. The fan interfered with him over the playing field. That's why I called spectator interference." And when asked if it was a clear call in his mind, the umpire said flatly, "Yes."

"He just said that there was fan interference on the field, and my argument was more about the fact that the ball was leaving the yard, the trajectory was there," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch during his in-game interview with TBS. "Jose paid kind of the ultimate price for something out of his control. I'm not sure if Mookie makes that catch, he's a great athlete, but how it's an assumed out is unbelievable."

"I was just kind of going back, and I got a good jump on it," Betts said. "And I was pretty positive I was going to be able to catch it. But as I jumped and went over, reached my hand up, I felt like somebody was kind of pushing my glove out of the way or something. And I got to see a little bit of the replay. I guess they were going to catch the ball and pushed my glove out of the way."

Betts added, "That was a ball I could catch. I'm 100 percent positive I was going to be able to catch that one."

Joe West 3{*}16 says you're out{*}— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 18, 2018