MLB Confirms Umpires Allowed Illegal Pitching Change in Angels-Astros Game

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIMay 10, 2013

In the seventh inning of the Los Angeles Angels' 6-5 road victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday evening, Angels manager Mike Scioscia came out to argue a potential botched call by the umpires with regard to a pitching rule.


UPDATE: Friday, March 10, at 5:20 p.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland

Astros manager Bo Porter told reporters that he made an honest mistake last night, and that Scioscia was right about the pitching change being illegal, according to's Brian McTaggart

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UPDATE: Friday, May 10, at 4:50 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, crew chief Fieldin Culbreth will be suspended two games for his error in last night's game:

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As it turns out, Scioscia was correct. Major League Baseball confirmed that umpires working the game allowed the Astros' illegal pitching change, per Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal:

The development was broken down nicely by Zach Stoloff of It all began when the Astros southpaw Wesley Wright was brought out of the bullpen in the top of the inning to pitch to Angels outfielder J.B. Shuck, who bats left-handed. 

Scioscia responded by inserting Luis Jimenez, a right-handed batter, as a pinch hitter. Before Wright threw an official pitch, right-handed reliever Hector Ambriz came on to replace him, which isn't allowed under rule 3.05 (b) in the official MLB rulebook.

The rule essentially states that a pitcher must throw to at least one hitter before leaving the bump, and that clearly didn’t happen in this instance. Even with three different huddles among the contingent of blues, they couldn’t reach the proper verdict.

Rule 3.05 (c) states, though, that any play that occurs after the illegal pitching change is legal in and of itself. Down 5-3, the Angels protested, but they wound up coming from behind to win, thus negating the protest.

Making matters worse for the home team was that Houston manager Bo Porter thought that he did not make a wrong move, per Stoloff.

The controversy on the mound piled even more time onto the marathon nine-inning contest, which took a whopping four hours and seven minutes, according to CBS Sports. It was the longest regular-length contest of the 2013 MLB season thus far.