HOUSTON -- By the time Astros manager A.J. Hinch met with the media following Sunday's 4-1 loss to the White Sox at Minute Maid Park, he was still fuming over his seventh-inning ejection, which closely followed a Jose Quintana pitch that sailed behind the back of designated hitter Evan Gattis.
Plate umpire Ryan Blakney warned both benches following the Quintana pitch, which came on the heels of Astros pitcher Chris Devenski hitting White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu on the arm in the top of the inning, and Blakney soon had an angry Hinch in his face taking up for his team and his player.
Hinch, ejected for the second time this season, said Devenski didn't hit Abreu on purpose and took exception with Quintana throwing two pitches at Gattis. The first pitch of the at-bat was up and in on his hands before Quintana threw behind him.
"They don't get two free shots at your players," Hinch said. " ... For them to allow Quintana, who's been perfect the entire game and making his pitches -- he's given up a couple of hits and one home run to the opposite field -- to take two shots at Evan Gattis, it's unfair. To warn him is to admit there is a problem. To not eject him is a choice they made [that] I didn't appreciate. ... I respect the fact they want to protect their players; you can't do it twice."
The White Sox played coy.
"I tried to go inside," Quintana said. "I missed a spot a couple times. Today, I missed too much. I missed a spot, that is all."
Said tight-lipped manager Robin Ventura: "I don't know. He missed inside."
Hinch said it's important to understand the umpires warned the benches only because Quintana was trying to hit Gattis, which he says meant Quintana should have been ejected.
"If you warn somebody, you're saying he intended to throw the ball behind him or at him," Hinch said. "That's grounds for dismissal from the game or ejection. The fact they didn't do it allowed him to stay in the game and dot the next pitch to Gattis inside and the next pitch to Gattis down and away and get him out with a breaking ball down below the zone. This guy made his pitches all day, and the one he intended for behind him, he made that pitch, too."
As for Gattis, he said he wasn't sure if Quintana was right or wrong for throwing behind him, but he said the intent was clear.
"The first pitch up and in, yeah, if that pitch is thrown and we go back to baseball, I feel like we're not even talking about it," Gattis said. "I think the pitch behind me … it's just obvious what the intent was."