When a first-inning drive to right field off the bat of Jose Altuve was ruled an out due to fan interference as Mookie Betts leaped at the wall during Wednesday's Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, the play joined several instances of close calls that involved potential fan interference
When a first-inning drive to right field off the bat of Jose Altuve was ruled an out due to fan interference as Mookie Betts leaped at the wall during Wednesday's Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, the play joined several instances of close calls that involved potential fan interference in the postseason. Here's a look at seven of them dating back to 1996:
Jose Altuve, 2018 ALCS Game 4
Altuve drove a Rick Porcello fastball deep to right field in the first inning in a bid for a game-tying homer, and as Betts made his leap, multiple fans reached for the ball and deflected it back onto the field. Umpire Joe West ruled it to be fan interference, and that Altuve was out as a result. Upon replay review, the out call was upheld.
Carlos Correa home run, 2017 ALCS Game 2
Correa lined a 99.3-mph fastball from the Yankees' Luis Severino for a solo home run to break a scoreless tie in the fourth inning at Minute Maid Park. But a young fan reached out and caught the ball on the fly right over the right-field wall as Aaron Judge was pursuing it, prompting a replay review for potential fan interference. Upon review, the call on the field was upheld, and the Astros took a 1-0 lead, going on to win the game, 2-1, to take a 2-0 series lead.
Mike Moustakas home run, 2015 ALCS Game 6
Moustakas smashed a low line drive to right-center field off the Blue Jays' David Price in the second inning, and as it headed right for the threshold between the wall and the stands, Royals fan Caleb Humphreys reached out and caught the ball over the railing. Toronto right fielder Jose Bautista raised his hands to signal fan interference, and the play was reviewed. Upon replay, the home run was upheld. Kansas City went on to win that game to clinch the AL pennant before winning its first World Series title in 30 years.
Victor Martinez home run, 2013 AL Division Series Game 4
Martinez belted a game-tying solo homer to right field off the Athletics' Sean Doolittle in the seventh inning at Comerica Park, but as soon as the ball landed, Oakland outfielders Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp argued a fan had interfered. A's manager Bob Melvin asked for a replay review, but the home run call was upheld. Detroit would go on to win Game 4, 8-6, to tie the series before advancing to the ALCS two nights later with a win in Oakland.
Robinson Cano home run, 2010 ALCS Game 4
Cano drove an 0-1 pitch from Rangers starter Tommy Hunter to deep right field at Yankee Stadium, and as right fielder Nelson Cruz leaped to try to rob a home run, multiple Yankees fans reached out and deflected the ball. The call on the field was a home run, and there was no replay review. Despite trailing at that point, Texas went on to win that game, 10-3, and the series in six games.
Steve Bartman foul ball, 2003 National League Championship Series Game 6
With the Cubs six outs away from advancing to the World Series for the first time since 1945, starter Mark Prior went back to the mound for the eighth inning at Wrigley Field with a 3-0 lead over the Marlins. After retiring Mike Mordecai for the first out of the frame, Juan Pierre doubled to left field, bringing Luis Castillo to the plate. Castillo lofted a high popup in foul territory down the left-field line. Chicago left fielder Moises Alou drifted toward the stands and leaped for a catch. Bartman, who was sitting in the first row where the ball was headed, reached up and deflected the ball. From that point, aided by an Alex Gonzalez error on a play that might have resulted in an inning-ending double play, Florida scored eight times en route to forcing Game 7. The Marlins won the pennant, and then the World Series over the Yankees.
Jeffrey Maier catches Derek Jeter home run, 1996 ALCS Game 1
With the Yankees trailing the Orioles in the eighth inning, 4-3, Jeter lofted a fly ball to deep right field at Yankee Stadium. Right fielder Tony Tarasco got back to the wall and reached up, but 12-year-old Yanks fan Jeffrey Maier caught the ball before it could potentially land in Tarasco's glove for the second out of the inning. Tarasco immediately pointed up to the stands to argue fan interference, but it was ruled a game-tying home run for New York. The Yankees would win the game on a Bernie Williams walk-off homer in the 11th. From there, New York went on to win the AL pennant and the first of four World Series titles from 1996-2000.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.