Hinch ejected after blown call
(c) Associated Press
David Paulino's big league debut took a strange and unfortunate turn in the third inning when a foul ball was ruled a wild pitch allowing two Cleveland runners to score.
Paulino kept the Indians off the scoreboard over the first two innings but struggled with his control in the third. A pair of walks, a wild pitch, and a hit batsman mixed with a couple of hits by the Indians helped Cleveland take a 2-1 lead. Paulino was one pitch away from getting out of a bases loaded jam and limiting the damage when home plate umpire Jim Joyce made one of the worst calls of all time.
With Lonnie Chisenhall at the plate, Paulino uncorked a slider that bounced in front of the plate, but as Chisenhall attempted to check his swing the ball hit his bat and deflected toward the third-base dugout. Astros catcher Jason Castro put out his right hand to get a new ball from Joyce but the umpire ignored his request as Francisco Lindor sprinted home from third and Mike Napoli came all the way around from second. Joyce further complicated matters when he called time out before Jose Ramirez could score from first.
All four umpires conferenced on the field to determine whether or not Chisenhall's bat had made contact with the the ball. While replay clearly showed the ball hitting the bat, the ruling of wild pitch stood as called.
A.J. Hinch stormed out of the Houston dugout to plead his case and was eventually ejected from the game. The umpires then donned the headsets to communicate with the mother ship but the call in question did not meet the parameters of a "reviewable" call.
When play resumed, Paulino retired Chisenhall on a humpbacked liner to second to end the inning. Unfortunately, what should have been a 2-1 game was now a 4-1 game thanks to the blown call. To add insult to injury, since it was a judgement call and not a rule misinterpretation, the Astros were unable to lodge a formal protest.
Yulieski Gurriel got one of those runs back in a hurry. The first Astros hitter to come to the plate after the debacle, Gurriel launched a home run into the leftfield bleachers as if to say "take that". Gurriel's second homer in as many days trimmed Cleveland's lead to 4-2 but Trevor Bauer retired the next three batters without incident.
Brady Rodgers came on to pitch for the Astros in the bottom of the fourth and his second big league appearance turned out to be equally as horrific as his first. Rodgers gave up two runs in the fourth and then the proverbial wheels came off the Bradymobile in the fifth. Rodgers coughed up four more runs and exited the game with a runner on base and having failed to record an out in the inning.
Michael Feliz came out of the bullpen and struck out the next two batters. But Carlos Santana connected for a 2-run homer to make it 10-3 Cleveland before Feliz could record the third out.
The Astros stormed back with a pair of runs in each of the next two innings to make it 10-7 but that's where the comeback attempt was derailed. Cleveland's bullpen hung a couple of zeroes on the scoreboard over the final two frames and the Astros left town with a split of the 4-game series.
Alex Bregman stayed hot at the dish, knocking in three runs with a triple and a double. Colby Rasmus launched his 15th homer of the season and Kevin Chapman tossed three hitless innings in relief.
- Greg Thurston