Yanks rally after 'wonky' interference call in 1st


ANAHEIM, Calif. — An infield fly and interference call loomed large in a game for the second time in less than a week.

This time it was the New York Yankees and Juan Soto.

The Yankees had the bases loaded with no outs in the first inning Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Angels when they were done in by an unconventional double play.

Despite the strange start to the game, the Yankees were able to rally for a 2-1 victory.

“A tough way to start things when you load the bases there in the first inning and you’ve got a good pitcher on the ropes. But by the letter of the law it was probably the right call,” said New York manager Aaron Boone, who was ejected.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a high popup near the bag at second. Umpires called an infield fly, but Soto bumped into Angels shortstop Zach Neto with his hip as he tried to get back to second base, causing Neto to lose track of the ball and it landing in the infield.

Second base umpire Vic Carapazza ruled that Soto interfered with Neto, leading to the second out.

“Obviously, a wonky play. Once Juan commits to getting there and he’s trying to stay out of the way, if Neto catches it, he might catch it on the bag for a double play. It’s like, ‘Where do you go?'” Boone said.

Carapazza said in a pool report after the game that it was his opinion that Soto didn’t intentionally make contact with Neto to interfere, but Soto was not standing on the base, which is the only time the baserunner is protected.

“I had him interfering with the infielder and called the infield fly first, which now the batter is out. The interference after that was the second out,” Carapazza said.

Neto also agreed that Soto wasn’t trying to interfere. It was just bad timing.

“There was no intention for me to get in his way or him to get in my way, the play just happened and I was trying to catch the ball,” Neto said. “It just got a little behind me. The umpire said every big league shortstop catches that ball. I was trying to catch it and he happened to be there.”

Boone came out to argue the call and was ejected by Carapazza. It was Boone’s third ejection of the season and 36th of his career.

Tyler Anderson and the Angels got out of the inning unscathed when Alex Verdugo grounded out.

Bench coach Brad Ausmus, who managed the Angels in 2019, took over after Boone was ejected.

Last Thursday in Chicago, umpires ruled White Sox designated runner Andrew Vaughn interfered with Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson on a popup by Andrew Benintendi, ending the game, won by Baltimore 8-6.

MLB said after that game that there is some discretion to not call interference, but Carapazza said that did not apply here.

“I called the infield fly rule first, which now the batter is out. That was not the case of that [White Sox-Orioles] play. It’s a little bit different,” Carapazza said.

Boone, like White Sox manager Pedro Grifol, is hoping MLB can provide even more clarity on interference plays.

“I mean, the sequence matters. But hopefully maybe we can get to revisit a little bit,” Boone said. “Juan is in jeopardy of getting doubled off, and if he doesn’t get there and if you don’t nail the get back the exact way, he gets stuck with Neto probably misjudging a little bit. But what do you do as a runner there?”



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