White Sox dealt deflating loss after controversial interference call ends game

The Chicago White Sox were in the midst of an improbable rally after entering the bottom of the ninth down six runs. They had the winning run at the plate with one out.

Then, they hit into an unusual double play.

With runners on first and second and one out, Andrew Benintendi hit a pop-up to Baltimore Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson. The infield fly rule was called, resulting in the second out of the inning.

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Umpires then ruled the runner at second, Andrew Vaughn, interfered with Henderson. Vaughn was called out, ending the game and Chicago’s rally.

White Sox manager Pedro Grifol exited the dugout, arguing to no avail as the umpires walked off the field.

Crew chief Adrian Johnson said there is no discretion when a baserunner appears to make incidental contact with a fielder — even if the play results in a defensive out.

“If he hinders the fielder in the attempt to field a batted ball, intent is not required, and it’s interference,” Johnson said after third-base umpire Junior Valentine made the game-ending call. “When you see the interference, you call it.”

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“I’m good with the way they called the play. I’m just not good with the rule,” Grifol added. “(Vaughn) didn’t make contact on purpose. He wasn’t trying to impede Gunnar from catching the fly ball.”

Orioles first baseman Ryan Mountcastle admitted it was “definitely a big relief.”

Added manager Brandon Hyde, “We escaped there.”

It seems like things continue to go wrong for Chicago, which dropped to 15-36 on the year. Chicago’s .294 winning percentage is the worst in baseball, and it would be the 18th-worst in modern baseball history (since 1900). The White Sox are on pace for a 47-115 record and rank at or near the bottom in just about every statistical category.

It was a big win for the O’s, who had lost three straight and six of their previous nine. They improved to 30-18.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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