Eaton singled to right, sending Tim Anderson to third. Hustling all the way, Eaton beat the throw to second, but he was ruled out when he came off the bag as shortstop Andrés Giménez handled the tag.
Eaton appeared to take umbrage at the way the play was handled by Giménez, believing he was pushed off the base. Eaton eventually shoved the shortstop, before second baseman Cesar Hernandez stepped in and the ruckus began as the two exchanged words.
After the loss, Eaton broke down the entire situation and how the moment might have escalated in an unwanted way.
“TA did such a good job deking the right fielder, slowing down and speeding back up to cause a throw, which was awesome,” Eaton said. “I tried to sneak in there behind him. From my viewpoint, I slid in and I stopped, and once I stopped my slide, I’m safe. It happened pretty quick, but my arm gets lifted up and pushed off the bag.
“Once that happened, I said, ‘[Second base umpire] Bill [Miller], I just got pushed off the bag,’ hopefully trying to get him to change his mind. But of course he didn’t. Then things kind of escalated a little bit there. Not that I wanted that. Both of those guys in the middle infield, I respect highly. They both play the game really the right way. I let the emotions kind of get the best of me there just because I felt like any time you get pushed off the bag when you are safe, it’s a little frustrating.”
That tag play ended up being a big moment, as the White Sox went from a second and third, nobody out scenario, to a runner on third with one out. They scored just one run that inning on Yoán Moncada’s two-out single, but wouldn’t score again until the ninth.
“He said it was just emotion,” said Cleveland manager Terry Francona of the bench-clearing disagreement. “I was trying to make a point of Giménez comes back and it escalates, what do they do? They throw both of them out. So Giménez doesn't do anything, so nothing happens? I didn't quite understand the logic.”
White Sox third-base coach Joe McEwing and first baseman José Abreu moved Eaton away, and nobody was ejected from the contest. The call of Eaton being out at second stood after an on-field discussion between the umpires.
But Eaton was a bit surprised postgame when asked if he thought that there would be any sort of fine or suspension coming his way, especially in the precarious time of COVID-19 when unwarranted interactions are discouraged.
“Didn’t even think of that, but thank you for putting that in my mind,” said a smiling Eaton. “I’ll be sweating it out for the next six to eight hours after hearing that. If MLB is listening, I’m sorry, don’t suspend me, please.”
“Well, difference of opinion. Umpire ruled it was just a hard tag,” said White Sox manager Tony La Russa, who added that the call was not reviewable. “The way I see it, you start pressing like that, you can just beat the heck out of the guy you're tagging, just knock him off the base. I don't think that's allowable. I mean, you can't go to the first baseman and knock him over [or] the third baseman.”