Turning point? That’s one way to look at it.
But look no further than the sharp turn Yasmani Grandal took from the left-handed batter’s box Sunday night for one of the biggest moments in the White Sox 12-6 win over the Astros in Game 3 of the ALDS.
“That changed the game,” said Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, echoing the bitter sentiment from Houston’s side of things.
With a runner on third in the fourth inning, Grandal hit a one-hopper to Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel. Grandal ran on the inside half of the baseline and Gurriel’s throw home hit Grandal’s left arm.
Luis Robert scored from third base on the play as the ball deflected away from Maldonado.
“Clearly he was running inside, and that’s interference in itself,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “That was a big play because we didn't get an out.”
According to the MLB rule book, any runner is out when they run more than three feet away from their baseline to avoid being tagged or when they intentionally interfere with a thrown ball or hinder a fielder attempting to field a batted ball.
Whether Grandal’s path — which appeared to veer into the throw — was intentional interference was up to umpire discretion. The umpires huddled and ruled Grandal safe.
“They gave me an explanation,” Baker said. “What good is an explanation at that point? I was arguing the fact that especially him being a catcher, he knows what he was doing.
“That was a smart play on his part, and that was the explanation that they gave me that they didn't see anything wrong with the play.”
The play was ruled a fielder's choice and Gurriel was charged with an error. The White Sox extended their lead to 8-6 and scored once more for a three-run fourth inning.
Grandal said on the postgame broadcast he tried to get his shoulder out of the way.
“I got to the dugout and told these guys it was good baserunning,” he said. “We’ll leave it at that.”
He dialed it back in his postgame media session.
“I wish I could tell you it was a head’s up play,” said Grandal, who finished 1-for-3 with a two-run home run. “I just saw the replay. I didn’t even know I was running that far inside the line. I was just trying to get to first.”
White Sox manager Tony La Russa said the umpires called the rule correctly and shot down the notion that Grandal purposely interfered with the throw.
"When he comes out of there, he runs direct to the base," La Russa said. "He didn't go this way and run that way. You create your baseline. It's in the rule.
"I guarantee you that there was no intent to interfere with that play. I can guarantee it."