ST. PETERSBURG -- A.J. Hinch's displeasure with a first-inning interference call against his team was nothing compared to the irritation he expressed with Joe West's decision to eject him from the game.Hinch was tossed in the first inning of the Astros' 5-1 win over the Rangers, and while a manager
ST. PETERSBURG -- A.J. Hinch's displeasure with a first-inning interference call against his team was nothing compared to the irritation he expressed with Joe West's decision to eject him from the game.
Hinch was tossed in the first inning of the Astros' 5-1 win over the Rangers, and while a manager being ejected for arguing is hardly big news, the fact that it was West -- the crew chief who was handling second-base duties -- who ejected him appeared to bother Hinch as much as anything.
"It's pretty rare -- I've been in the game a long time -- to get thrown out by a guy who wasn't even in the argument," Hinch said. "I understand he's protecting a younger umpire, but there was really no business for Joe to be involved in the argument."
George Springer led off the bottom of the first with a single, then he was attempting to steal second base when Alex Bregman swung through Nick Martinez's 3-2 pitch for strike three. Bregman's swing took him in front of catcher Brett Nicholas, preventing him from making a clean throw.
Home-plate umpire Chris Segal called Springer out at second base due to batter's interference. Hinch argued that because Bregman didn't make contact with the catcher, the call was incorrect.
Rule 6.01 says that any batter or runner who has just been put out that "hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner" will result in the runner being declared out for the interference of his teammate.
"It wasn't interference," Bregman said. "He didn't touch me."
Clearly displeased with the call, Hinch emerged from the dugout to plead his case to Segal. The conversation between the two became slightly animated when West walked toward the plate to interject.
"My discussion with the home-plate umpire was about the interference; there was no contact, awkward pitch to throw on. It's a judgment call," Hinch said. "We obviously didn't agree with his judgment.
"When I went out to talk to him, [it's] going to be animated because as an ex-catcher, I disagree with it. But when Joe got involved, that's when the ejection came. I don't think I was getting ejected by the home-plate umpire. I didn't say anything that was necessary to get thrown out by the home-plate umpire -- then Joe got involved and decided I was done for the day."
Jose Altuve followed two pitches later with a home run to left-center field, though it was only a solo shot that tied the game at 1, rather than a two-run homer giving the Astros an early lead, thanks to Springer being ruled out on the interference call.
"He got us going, fired us up a little bit," Bregman said of Hinch's ejection. "When he gets run, Altuve hits the homer. We were ready to play."
Even after the game, Hinch believed he was right, though he acknowledged that it's tough to argue with an umpire on a judgment call.
"[Segal] called what he thought he saw," Hinch said. "It's his call to make. It's also my job to disagree and defend our team. And apparently it was Joe's job to come in and end the day."
Mark Feinsand is an executive reporter for MLB.com and covered the Astros on Thursday.