The Detroit Tigers found a novel way to lose Saturday, but it was an umpire who felt the real pain.
With the bases loaded and the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 10th inning, Tigers reliever Jose Cisnero was one out away from forcing another extra inning. He had to face White Sox All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson to get there and opened with a 96.4 mph fastball.
Unfortunately for all involved except the White Sox, the pitch sailed high and nailed home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the face mask, sending the ball out of reach of catcher Eric Haase and giving Chicago a 2-1 walk-off win on a wild pitch.
Blaser reportedly remains under evaluation after the play. The White Sox posted a tweet wishing him a speedy recovery.
Hoping for a speedy recovery for home plate umpire, Cory Blaser, who was hit by a pitch. ❤️
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 3, 2023
In case you were wondering, Rule 6.01(f) of the MLB rulebook explicitly states that a ball that hits an umpire is a live ball:
If a thrown ball accidentally touches a base coach, or a pitched or thrown ball touches an umpire, the ball is alive and in play. However, if the coach interferes with a thrown ball, the runner is out.
White Sox-Tigers game made bizarre wild-pitch history
Incredibly, that was the third time in the game that a run had scored on a wild pitch. Because the score was 2-1, that means every run in this game was scored on a wild pitch. Per Elias Sports Bureau via Beck, it was the first game in MLB history to see three run-scoring wild pitches and no runs scored any other way.
The first wild pitch came from the Tigers' Michael Lorenzon in the fourth inning, scoring Andrew Benintendi. The lone Tigers run was scored by Zach McKinstry off Dylan Cease. Each of those was more normal than what happened in extra innings.
The win improves Chicago's record to 25-35, good for only fourth place in the AL Central. The team has looked revitalized lately, though, winning 11 of its past 18 games to show some life after a horrendous start. Wacky walk-offs have been something of a recurring story for the team as well, as it has lost on a walk-off bunt twice this season.