Alex Avila’s double rattled along the short fence near the left-field line before the ball bounced up toward a fan standing in a small seating area jutting out toward the field.
The umpires halted play, conferred briefly and then made the game’s decisive call: fan interference and a run for the Tigers.
Jhonny Peralta was allowed to score from first on the play, breaking an eighth-inning tie, and Detroit went on to beat the Minnesota Twins 6-5 on Monday in Detroit. There was considerable dispute over whether someone interfered with the ball or whether it simply bounced out of play and hit someone, but the end result was a victory for the Tigers and yet another difficult loss for Minnesota.
“We ruled spectator interference and we ruled the runner would have scored without it,” said crew chief Gary Darling, who was umpiring third base.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland came out of the dugout briefly as the umpires discussed what to do, but they quickly ruled that Peralta’s run counted.
“It’s the umpire’s decision where to place the runner,” Leyland said. “They didn’t tell me anything, but I just said ‘That run has to score,’ and they’d already said right away that run scored.”
Then it was Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire’s turn to come out on the field. He was ejected after a heated argument.
“I don’t care who it hit. The ball went in the stands,” Gardenhire said. “When it goes in the stands you know it’s a ground-rule double.”
Minnesota (17-35) has by far the worst record in the American League. The struggling Twins also lost right fielder Jason Kubel to a sprained left foot after six innings. X-rays were negative, and Kubel is day-to-day.
• Minnesota left-hander Francisco Liriano is headed to the disabled list with inflammation of his throwing shoulder, less than a month after pitching a no-hitter.
The Twins announced the move Monday, saying it is retroactive to May 23. Liriano missed his last start because of the injury. Minnesota says it will recall right-handed pitcher Anthony Slama from Triple-A Rochester.
Mets’ Reyes out on bereavement
Jose Reyes has been placed on the bereavement list, leaving the New York Mets with only three regulars in the lineup for their series opener against Pittsburgh.
The All-Star shortstop, hot at the plate recently, found out his grandmother died. He flew home to the Dominican Republic.
Reyes will be sidelined three to seven days, according to bereavement list rules.
Pirates put Doumit, Pearce on disabled list
The Pirates placed catcher Ryan Doumit (left ankle sprain) and infielder Steve Pearce (right calf strain) on the 15-day disabled list.
In 93 at-bats, Doumit, a native of Moses Lake, has four home runs and 15 RBIs.