May 8, 2004
Umps cost Stros a win
Occasionally, umpires cost a team a game, and tonight was one of those nights for the Stros as they lost in 10 innings to the Braves, 5-4. Andruw Jones hit a two-out homer off Ricky Stone that barely cleared the right-field wall to win the game for the Braves.
However, the Stros had the game in hand until the bottom of the eighth, when the Braves' Jesse Garcia convinced umpires he had been grazed on the helmet with a pitch, sparking a two-run eighth that tied the game 3-3. The disputed call led to the ejection of Astros manager Jimy Williams. Before the inning was over, bench coach John Tamargo and starter Roy O also were tossed.
The controversy began when Garcia claimed a pitch from Oswalt nicked the top of his helmet and began trotting toward first. Plate umpire Gary Darling didn't make a call but consulted with second-base umpire Rob Drake, who ruled that Garcia had been hit. Astros' manager Williams went nuclear, and tried to run around Darling several times to go after Drake.
Oswalt gave up a bases-loaded single that pulled the Braves to 3-2, then threw up his arms after a low fastball to Chipper Jones was ruled a ball. Darling, who by this time wasn't calling a strike for Oswalt unless it was right down the middle, bounced out from behind the plate and yelled at Oswalt, who promptly walked Jones and forced in the tying run.
Tamargo, now running the team, came out to make a pitching change and wound up getting ejected when he began jawing with Darling. About that time, Oswalt tossed a blue case -- filled with bubble gum -- from the Houston dugout, and its contents sprayed along the third-base line. Several batboys had to come out, scurrying around on their knees to clean up the mess.
Oswalt's reaction is reflective of the absurdity of the umpires' calls and behavior. Roy O is normally as calm and well-mannered as any player in baseball. Frankly, this game might have turned into a mob scene had Roger Clemens been pitching.
The Stros came back to take the lead in the top of ninth, but Brad Lidge, filling in for Octavio Dotel -- who had pitched in three straight games -- couldn't hold that lead. That set the stage for Jones' heroics in the bottom of the tenth.
Andy Pettitte goes for his second win after coming off the DL in the series finale against the Braves. I guess pitching coach Burt Hooten will take the lineup card to the meeting at home plate with the umpires before the game.
Posted by Tom at May 8, 2004 11:28 PM |
Hey, you guys have a great blog! I wish I had come upon this sooner! I'm linking on my site - Astros, law, and politics - my kind of read.
Posted by: Chris at May 9, 2004 12:35 AM
Welcome to Clear Thinkers. Always glad to add a another Texas blog to my blog links. I look forward to reading your blog, too.
Posted by: Tom Kirkendall at May 9, 2004 1:31 PM
Big T - you hit it right on the head. Darling was out of line with his behavior. Sad to see things like that happen in the major leagues when the umpires dictate the action...
Posted by: Will Veber at May 10, 2004 9:07 AM
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