World Series: Dave Martinez ejected, restrained from umpires after Nationals protest questionable call

HOUSTON — Nationals manager Dave Martinez was ejected during the seventh inning stretch of Game 6 of the World Series against the Astros for arguing a questionable interference call involving leadoff man Trea Turner. Martinez became the first manager ejected from a World Series game since Bobby Cox for the Braves against the Yankees in 1996.

Martinez, who recently had a heart procedure, was livid over the call and had to be held back by bench coach Chip Hale before leaving the game. 

In the top of the seventh, Turner hit a dribbler just a few feet from home plate off Astros reliever Brad Peacock. Since Turner can fly, the play ended up being very close at first, but the throw hit Turner and got away. The Nationals ended up with Yan Gomes (who had singled) on third base and Turner on second. 

Instead, the umpires ruled that Turner had interfered at first base, which meant he was out and Gomes had to go all the way back to first. Here’s the play: 

Here’s rule 5.09a. 

The lines marking the three-foot lane are a part of that lane and a batter-runner is required to have both feet within the three-foot lane or on the lines marking the lane. The batter-runner is permitted to exit the threefoot lane by means of a step, stride, reach or slide in the immediate vicinity of first base for the sole purpose of touching first base.  

Given that Turner was stepping on first base, the part in bold above should likely have indicated Turner would be ruled safe. He had to touch the base. That’s just part of the game. It’s basic. The rule says right there he’s allowed to move to get to the base. 

After a far-too-lengthy review, the ruling on the field was upheld and Turner was ruled out. It was a head-scratcher. 

The Nationals would get some measure of revenge as Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer, but it still had Martinez hot. He was tossed between innings. 

The Nationals filed a protest that the rule was misapplied during the game, but given that they defeated Houston, 7-2, to force a Game 7 on Wednesday, they’ll just drop the protest. 

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