Controversial call hangs over Astros’ Game 4 ALCS win

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The Astros evened the ALCS at two games apiece against the Red Sox on Tuesday night, winning 9-2 after erupting for seven runs in the ninth inning – an inning, however, that was not without controversy.

The game was tied 2-2 in the top half of the ninth, and Boston pitcher Nathan Eovaldi had two outs with runners at first and second. With the count at 1-2, he threw a curveball to Jason Castro that appeared to land in the strike zone for the third out of the game.

He began walking toward the dugout. The third strike call never came.

“I thought it was a strike, but again, I’m in the moment. I’m trying to make my pitches,” Eovaldi said, per ESPN. “I’m attacking the zone.”

Castro ended up singling in a run, and six more runs came afterward as the rails fell off for the Red Sox. But both teams should have a legitimate gripe about the umpires. According to ESPN Stats and Information, home plate umpire Laz Diaz missed 23 ball-strike calls throughout the games – 12 that went against Boston and 11 that went against Houston.

The one extra call that went Houston’s way loomed large over the result.

“There’s going to be those at-bats where I felt like our batters were being very selective up there,” Eovaldi said. “They were having quality at-bats, and a 1-0 count that turns into a 1-1 or a 2-0 count, it changes the at-bat a lot.”

“I’m not going to get thrown out of this game, but we thought that pitch was a strike and he disagreed with us, but that’s a tough job,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “I don’t think – yeah, it changes – if it’s a strike, it changes the whole thing, right, but I think we had chances early on.”

Alex Cora argues with Laz Diaz during Game 4 of the ALCS
Alex Cora argues with Laz Diaz during Game 4 of the ALCS
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Cora had previously taken issue with Diaz after a strike-three call on J.D. Martinez ended the third inning. He came out of the dugout to argue and ended up having to be restrained.

Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta, who allowed one run over five innings, was also asked about the strike zone – and bit his tongue.

“I’m not going to say anything,” Pivetta said.



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