On Friday, television cameras panned the San Francisco Giants’ bullpen, with the pitchers sitting shoulder to shoulder, seemingly struggling to find enough room for all of the bodies, and Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper mentioned that the Giants were carrying seven left-handed relievers. Now almost a week later, San Francisco’s bullpen is composed of 14 pitchers.
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 Ramirez circled 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.