In the top of the first inning, the Royals’ Whit Merrifield attempted to steal second base with Lorenzo Cain at bat. At almost the time of pitcher Josh Tomlin’s release, Indians’ catcher Chris Gimenez jumped up, took off his mask, and stepped on the plate to receive the throw. Gimenez caught the pitch standing on the plate and threw to second, but Whit was safe. Plate umpire Sam Holbrook made no interference call on Gimenez and Cain remained at bat.
The Royals’ staff was concerned about a catcher’s balk and the possibility of catcher’s interference. This is my take.
6.01 (g) (7.07) Interference With Squeeze Play or Steal of Home If, with a runner on third base and trying to score by means of a squeeze play or a steal, the catcher or any other fielder steps on, or in front of home base without possession of the ball, or touches the batter or […]
10. CATCHER’S INTERFERENCE Rules 5.05(b)(3), 5.06(b)(3)(D), 6.01(g)[former Rules 6.08(c), 7.04(d), 7.07]: Under Official Baseball Rule 5.05(b)(3) [former OBR 6.08(c)], if catcher’s inter-ference is called with a play in progress, the umpire will allow the play to contin-ue because the manager may elect to take the play—unless the batter reaches first base and all other runners […]