Disputed pitch leads to big inning for Rockies

May 11th, 2019

DENVER -- With the Rockies leading the Padres, 2-0, in the bottom of the fourth inning of their 12-2 win at Coors Field on Friday, Colorado put runners at the corners with nobody out against San Diego starter Eric Lauer. Garrett Hampson was at the plate, and Lauer's first pitch ran inside as Hampson squared to bunt. The ball hit Hampson's right hand, but home plate umpire Brian O'Nora called a strike, ruling that Hampson offered at the pitch.

Rockies manager Bud Black emerged from the home dugout to argue Hampson was in the process of pulling the bat back when he was hit. All four umpires held a conference, and eventually awarded Hampson first base, loading the bases.

Padres manager Andy Green then came out of the visitors dugout and argued against the reversal of the original call. Another umpire conference was held, and Hampson was sent back to the plate to finish his eight-pitch at-bat that resulted in a walk.

The Rockies rallied for seven runs in the frame, chasing Lauer after three-plus innings, over which he surrendered a career-high eight runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out one.

"The call on the field was that Hamp offered at the ball and so it was called a strike," Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond said on the Colorado broadcast. "I’m not sure what happened or why it took so long, but anyway, that was the call on the field. I’m happy with our guys, the way we responded. That’s potentially a big play in a big situation, but we were able to string a bunch of great at-bats, quality at-bats together. Got some big hits from a lot of guys, including [starting pitcher German] Marquez, and had a big inning. So that was exactly what we needed.”

Black said that once the original call of an attempted bunt was made, there was technically nothing the Rockies could do about it.

"Basically, in the simplest terms, Brian called a called strike. When that happens everything else is sort of off the table," Black said. "I thought initially he called a foul ball. Then everything ensued. What it came down to is when Jeff Kellogg came down from third base, basically, he said to Brian, 'Did you call a strike? Did you call an attempted bunt?' and raised his right hand. When that happened, there was no recourse for us."

"He called it a strike, and then they tried to rectify it because they didn't think he went," Green said. "But since he said he went, you can't really undo that. So that's what the discussion was about."

Green said this wasn't the first time he's been involved in a "double reversal" of sorts.

"It was my first ejection," he said. "In Pittsburgh, they called a balk on Colin Rea, then they got it changed, and then they reversed it again and called it a balk again.

"Kudos to Buddy for staying in the game. Reversals of reversals don't usually keep managers in the game. I think, honestly, Jeff and Brian did a nice job, because they had patience with both of us because they understood it wasn't an ideal situation. Credit to them."