NEW YORK — Major League Baseball admitted Friday that umpires made a mistake for the second straight day, this time when they messed up by allowing Astros manager Bo Porter to switch relievers in the middle of an inning.
“The rule covering pitching changes was not applied correctly by the umpiring crew,” MLB said in a statement.
The problem in Houston came a day after Angel Hernandez and his crew in Cleveland failed to reverse a clear-cut home run after looking at a video review. MLB vice president Joe Torre said the umpires made an “improper call.”
It’s recently been a rough run for umps. Crew chief Tom Hallion was fined earlier this month after getting into a verbal spat with Tampa Bay pitcher David Price.
The latest trouble occurred in the seventh inning at Minute Maid Park. And while baseball does have video replay for some hard-to-tell calls — and has talked for a couple of years about expanding its scope — there was no mistaking what umpires saw.
With two outs and the Astros ahead 5-3, Houston reliever Wesley Wright came in from the bullpen and threw several warmup pitches from the mound. Porter, a first-year manager, then ran onto the field to stop him and brought in another reliever, Hector Ambriz.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia argued, correctly contending Wright was required to pitch to at least one batter. But the umpires permitted Ambriz to stay in and Scioscia put the game under protest — it became moot when the Angels rallied to win 6-5.
Pinch-hitter Luis Jimenez was on deck when Wright entered. Once Ambriz took over, Scott Cousins came up as a pinch-hitter.
“Technically, Wesley came in to face the batter that was scheduled to hit, but he pinch-hit for the batter that was scheduled to hit, which my understanding of the rule means you can now bring in another pitcher to face the pinch-hitter,” Porter said.
Crew chief Fieldin Culbreth provided little clarification after the game.
“Well, the only thing I can tell you is that all matters concerning protests are handled through the league office,” he said.
A day earlier, a mistake in Cleveland caused a lot of commotion.
Adam Rosales and the Athletics were certain he’d hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning against the Indians. Three umpires went to a video review and instead upheld the original call on the field that the ball didn’t clear the left-field wall.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin was ejected and was later contacted with MLB officials.
The mistake drew attention all over the majors. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said he’d never before seen an obvious miss despite replay.
“This is the first one where there definitely is a line drawn where you go, ‘Wow,”’ he said.