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Hinch ejected after fan-interference call

Astros manager is tossed for the first time this season

SEATTLE -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch was ejected for the first time this season Saturday night, getting tossed by third-base umpire Mike DiMuro in the sixth inning of the Astros' 6-3 loss to the Mariners at Safeco Field.

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The ejection came moments after an instant-replay challenge by Hinch confirmed a fan-interference call on the field made by DiMuro that went against the Astros. Evan Gattis was called out after a popup he hit to left field was deflected by a fan, who reached onto the field and over the glove of shortstop Brad Miller to rob him of a potential catch.

DiMuro immediately called Gattis out, and Hinch challenged. The crowd roared when the replay, shown on the large video board in center field, showed the yellow-shirt-clad fan reaching out over the glove of Miller.

Hinch's biggest contention is that the umpire shouldn't have been able to assume Miller was going to make the catch, though his glove was directly under the fan's glove.

"Every out matters, and I felt like they took one away from us," Hinch said. "I don't understand how you can assume a catch when a guy is running full speed from shortstop, crashing into a wall, a fan interferes and we say 'catch.' In a 2-1 game, Gattis could hit a home run the next pitch.

"Obviously, this is the big leagues and a lot of catches get made. To make that a guaranteed catch, I'm not sure why we wouldn't instruct all our home fans just to get in the way and make it an automatic out. They called New York, which I asked them to do, and they confirmed the call, which is I think is wrong."

According to section 3.16 of the MLB rule book, if a spectator clearly prevents a fielder from catching a fly ball, the umpire shall declare the batter out. Hinch didn't think it was clear, and was particularly upset a home fan helped the home team get an out that wasn't guaranteed.

"Interference is interference," Hinch said. "I understand a fan got involved. That's not like a normal catch where he's sitting there camped and all of a sudden he's going to get in there and necessarily catch. These guys are really good players. Miller's a terrific shortstop. I'm not sure he's crashing into a wall -- could have come out of it hurt -- and all of a sudden we assume it's a catch, so. … It's unfortunate because every out matters. I tell our guy that, so I'm not going to stand for it."

The fan was ejected.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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