The Texas Rangers defeated the Houston Astros 2-0 on Sunday night in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. The Rangers' win did not come without some late-inning controversy, however. The Astros were down by two runs in the bottom of the eighth when Jose Altuve led off the frame with a walk.
Alex Bregman then connected on a deep fly ball to left field against southpaw Aroldis Chapman. Bregman's ball was caught by Evan Carter on the warning track for the first out in the inning. That's when things turned a little nutty.
Altuve, you'll see, had taken an aggressive approach on Bregman's batted ball. In fact, he had advanced all the way to -- and, as replay would show -- a step beyond the second-base bag. By rule, Altuve needed to retouch second base on his way back to the first-base bag in order to be deemed safe.
Unfortunately for the Astros, the Rangers appealed, and a replay review validated that Altuve had not touched second on his retreat. Thus, Altuve was ruled out as part of an unusual double play on the basis of Rule 5.06(b)(1). Here's that rule, direct from Major League Baseball's Official Rulebook:
In advancing, a runner shall touch first, second, third and home base in order. If forced to return, he shall retouch all bases in reverse order, unless the ball is dead under any provision of Rule 5.06(c). In such cases, the runner may go directly to his original base.
Here's another look at the play:
"I thought the ball was over his head, didn't think he was going to make the play he made," Altuve said after the game. "And then you're just trying to come back to first. That's what I did."
To be clear: it was the right call. It just erased what appeared to be a promising rally for the Astros. They went from seemingly tying the game on a Bregman home run (or, at least, an extra-base hit) to having two outs and nobody on with four outs to go in the contest. Those are the breaks sometimes.
Game 2 between the Rangers and the Astros will take place on Monday afternoon at Minute Maid Park, in Houston. First pitch is slated for just after 4:30 p.m. ET and will see Nathan Eovaldi face Framber Valdez.