A long Thursday for the White Sox ends with a bit of controversy

White Sox

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa, left, argues with second base umpire Bill Welke during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Chicago, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. La Russa was ejected by Welke. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO – It was already a forgettable afternoon for the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field as another chance to reduce their “Magic Number” for an American League Central Division championship.

Then things got a little interesting in the ninth inning against the Angels when the game was, for all intents and purposes, decided.

With two outs in the ninth inning, White Sox pitcher Mike Wright Jr. hit Angels MVP candidate Shohei Ohtani with a pitch. Umpires ruled that it was intentional, and the reliever was thrown out of the game. Upset about the move, manager Tony La Russa came out of the dugout to argue and was promptly ejected.

A few White Sox hitters had been hit early in the series, and it was believed this was retaliation, but La Russa quickly dismissed that after the 9-3 defeat on Thursday. In his postgame news conference, the manager said a number of times that Wright hitting Ohtani was not intentional.

“The reasoning did not make sense. He felt that there was stuff flying around in that first game; it was all us getting hit but he noticed all that and they didn’t do anything. We didn’t do anything that day and yesterday,” said La Russa. “We pitched Ohtani tough all series. He got a couple of soft hits against us. But he ruled that that was intentional, and he made a mistake.

“It wasn’t consistent with his umpiring judgment through the series.”

Angels manager Joe Maddon disagreed, saying that the pitch from Wright was done so in retaliation for the players hit earlier in the series.

Thursday was the last game between the clubs this season, so whatever emotions that might be there will have to simmer for a while. In the meantime, the White Sox still have the business of clinching the division to take care of as they now head to Texas for a three-game series with the Rangers with a “Magic Number” still at seven.

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