Home plate umpire Ron Kulpa admitted making a mistake in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the New York Mets a 3-2 win over the Miami Marlins on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Kulpa said that Michael Conforto "should have" been called out for leaning into a pitch in the strike zone instead of being awarded first base on a hit by pitch.
Conforto was down in the count 1-2 with the bases loaded and one out. Marlins reliever Anthony Bass threw a pitch that the Mets outfielder leaned his elbow into in order to get hit and allow the winning run to score.
The umpire crew did look at a video replay on the field but determined the call should stand.
Kulpa called it "one of those plays where it looked like the guy was hit ... by the pitch in the strike zone."
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said during his postgame press conference that Kulpa probably "feels awful" about the call.
Miami's pitching staff had done a good job of containing the Mets throughout the game. Their only run through the first eight innings came on a Dominic Smith sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth.
Jeff McNeil tied the game with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth. After James McCann grounded out, Bass gave up consecutive hits and intentionally walked Francisco Lindor to load the bases.
Conforto's controversial hit by pitch gave the Mets a win in their 2021 home opener.