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Nats Nightly: Tigers 5-4 over Nationals... MLB Rule 6.01(j); bona fide slides, hindering, etc.

A disputed call at second base last night was upheld when it was ruled that Detroit Tigers' outfielder Anthony Gose, who slid in well wide of the bag on an attempted double play, hadn't "hindered" Danny Espinosa's ability to make the play.

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

From MLB's Official Baseball Rules: 2016 Edition. Rule 6.01(j):

(j) (7.14) Sliding to Bases on Double Play Attempts

If a runner does not engage in a bona fide slide, and initiates (or attempts to make) contact with the fielder for the purpose of breaking up a double play, he should be called for interference under this Rule 6.01. A "bona fide slide" for purposes of Rule 6.01 occurs when the runner:

(1) begins his slide (i.e., makes contact with the ground) before reaching the base;

(2) is able and attempts to reach the base with his hand or foot;

(3) is able and attempts to remain on the base (except home plate) after completion of the slide; and

(4) slides within reach of the base without changing his pathway for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.

A runner who engages in a "bona fide slide" shall not be called for interference under this Rule 6.01, even in cases where the runner makes contact with the fielder as a consequence of a permissible slide. In addition, interference shall not be called where a runner’s contact with the fielder was caused by the fielder being positioned in (or moving into) the runner’s legal pathway to the base.

Notwithstanding the above, a slide shall not be a "bona fide slide" if a runner engages in a "roll block," or intentionally initiates (or attempts to initiate) contact with the fielder by elevating and kicking his leg above the fielder’s knee or throwing his arm or his upper body.

If the umpire determines that the runner violated this Rule 6.01(j), the umpire shall declare both the runner and batter-runner out. Note, however, that if the runner has already been put out then the runner on whom the defense was attempting to make a play shall be declared out.

The rule above, added for this season, came into play in the top of the sixth inning last night.

With the bases loaded and one out in a 3-3 game, Detroit Tigers' infielder Andrew Romine hit a ground ball to second that Daniel Murphy fielded before throwing to shortstop Danny Espinosa at second base.

Anthony Gose went into second base well wide of the bag, avoiding the base and contact with Espinosa, who threw late to first. A run scored on the play, but Washington Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker challenged the call on the field, arguing that Gose's slide violated Rule 6.01(j).

After a review of the play in New York, however, the call on the field was upheld. Pinch hitter Miguel Cabera stepped in next, with two down, and hit an RBI single that ended drove in what ended up being the winning run.

Following the 5-4 loss, Baker talked to reporters about what he was told about the ruling on the play. The way he saw it, Gose's slide was wide of the bag, he didn't even reach for the base and thus should have been out.

"That's what they explained the rule was to us in Spring Training," Baker said.

"That if he couldn't touch second base or the base that you were going to that it was an automatic double play. But then it was explained to me that the rule had changed.

"If he wasn't hindering the shortstop or second baseman from throwing the ball that it was no double play. We weren't aware that the rule has been changed. It's been a topic of discussion ever since it's been invoked in Spring Training.

"So, we were told that that was the rule. So they said that he wasn't hindering the guy from throwing to first base, so therefore it wasn't a double play."

"From my understanding with the rule, Anthony did not try to touch the bag, and he did not hold the bag," Daniel Murphy, who objected to the play on the field, told reporters, including MASN's Mark Zuckerman.

"He went past it. With the rule that Major League Baseball gave us, the commissioner’s office, that would be two violations."

Zuckerman spoke to an MLB official who told him, "... the replay official in New York indeed determined Gose did not make a bona fide slide and thus violated the first part of the rule.":

"But, in the opinion of that official, Gose did not violate the second part of rule, because he 'didn’t interfere with the fielder’s ability to make the play,' according to the spokesman."

While Baker referred to it as a rule change he was unaware of, the MLB spokesman MASN's beat writer spoke to said, "... no changes have been made to the rule since it was implemented at the start of the season."

Gose didn't attempt to reach the base with his hand or foot. But since he didn't try to hinder Espinosa's ability to turn the double play, it's okay?

Doesn't sliding in wide of the bag qualify as hindering or attempting to hinder Espinosa's ability to make the play?

The Nationals likely weren't going to get Romine at first, but under the rules described above, as the MLB spokesman noted, he did not make a bona fide slide... whatever.

Watch the play for yourself...

We talked about the play at second, Zimmerman's two-homer night, Stephen Strasburg's extension and more on last night's edition of Nats Nightly: