Angels Mike Trout, Scott Cousins and Josh Hamilton celebrate their 6-5… (Pat Sullivan / Associated…)
Wins have been few and far between for the Angels this season, but on Thursday in Houston, they may have gotten a pair of victories. Not only did they rally to win the game with the Astros, 6-5, they appeared to have won a protest over an umpire's ruling as well.
"The rule covering pitching changes was not applied correctly by the umpiring crew in the 7th inning of last night's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim game at Minute Maid Park," Major League Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney wrote in an email Friday morning. "The matter is being reviewed."
The incident began with the Angels batting with two outs in the seventh inning and the Astros leading, 5-3. With left-hand hitter J.B. Shuck due up, Houston left-hander Wesley Wright ran to the mound and threw several warm-up pitches.
As that was going on, the Angels sent right-handed Luis Jimenez to the on-deck circle to pinch-hit for Shuck, so Houston Manager Bo Porter raced from the dugout to a spot between the mound and the plate to stop Wright from throwing.
Porter then waved in right-hander Hector Ambriz and sent Wright to the dugout.
That brought Angel Manager Mike Scioscia running out of his dugout -- there were a lot of guys running Thursday night in Houston -- insisting that Wright should have been ordered to face a batter after he entered the game.
Scioscia lost his long argument with umpire crew chief Fieldin Culbreth, then sent another pinch-hitter -- lefty Scott Cousins -- to the plate. Ambriz retired him to end the inning.
Scioscia filed an official protest but that proved moot because the Angels rallied with three eighth-inning runs to win the game.
Porter's machinations seemed a clear violation of Rule 3.05 (b), which states a substitute pitcher must face at least one batter unless he sustains an injury or illness.
“My contention was that the pitcher had to face one batter,” Scioscia said. “I protested. We're happy we won. I think the rule is pretty clear.”
Porter said he operated under the impression that the rule regarding pitching changes was changed last year.
“If you pinch-hit for that batter, you now have the right to bring in another pitcher,” Porter said. “Wesley came in to face [Shuck], but he pinch-hit for the batter, which my understanding of the rule means you can now bring in another pitcher to face the pinch-hitter.”
One day earlier, umpires were at the center of a controversial botched ninth-inning home-run call in Cleveland that may have cost the Oakland Athletics a game.