The Cleveland Indians were the beneficiaries of a blown call by the plate umpire that was not reviewable and resulted in the ejection of Astros manager A.J. Hinch during Houston's 10-7loss Thursday.
Lonnie Chisenhall was at the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning and -- on a 1-2 pitch from Astros starter David Paulino -- fouled off a pitch that had bounced in front of home plate and came to a rest near the Indians' dugout.
Umpire Jim Joyce, however, never saw the ball hit the bat and ruled it a wild pitch. He let play continue as Indians baserunners Francisco Lindor, Mike Napoli and Jose Ramirezcircled the bases while Astros catcher Jason Castro argued with Joyce, who then called time after Lindor and Napoli had crossed home plate and while Ramirez was still running around the bases.
"I had a player discussing with me what had happened and he was emphatic about it," Joyce told a pool reporter after the game. "I'm not going to let bases loaded, keep rolling. To use a little bit of common sense and some fair play on that one, I wanted to call time and figure out what had happened."
Joyce then met with the rest of the umpiring crew, but he didn't change the call. Hinch came out of the dugout to protest the call and was ejected.
"I went to each crew member and asked them the same thing," Joyce said. "If any of them had it hitting the bat, I would have turned around and called a foul ball. My partners couldn't help me on it."
Said Hinch: "I think everybody in the ballpark saw the play the way it happened except for the four guys on the field."
Even the Indians' and Astros' Twitter accounts seemed incredulous over the call.
After Hinch's ejection, the play was reviewed only to determine that time was called before Ramirez crossed home plate. Two runs were allowed to score as the Indians took a 4-1 lead, and Ramirez was sent back to second base.
"I thought it was pretty obvious it was a foul ball," Castro said. "[Joyce] just said he didn't have the ball hitting the bat. The initial reaction is the biggest indicator, and you saw what happened. It was a pretty disappointing call for us."
Indians manager Terry Francona wasn't sure initially what happened.
"We have the ability to go to replay, which they don't," he said. "Nobody ever wants to have a call go against them."
Joyce said after the game that he hadn't yet seen the replay.
"I will be looking at it tonight, you can bank on that," he said.
Trey Hillman took over managerial duties for the Astros, who began the day two games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the second wild-card spot in the American League.
Joyce made headlines in 2010 as he costDetroit Tigers pitcherArmando Galarraga a perfect game after inexplicably ruling Indians baserunner Jason Donald safe on a play at first base with two outs in the ninth inning.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Non-reviewable gaffe by umpire results in A.J. Hinch ejection vs. Indians
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