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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Houston Astros lose game to Angels on challenge

Yuli Gurriel

Monday night’s Houston Astros-Los Angeles Angels game ended with umpires overturning a call on a challenge that gave the Angels the final out.

The Angels were leading the Astros 2-0 but were in some trouble with runners on first and second with two out. Yuli Gurriel was on second after singling and Alex Bregman was on first after a walk. Keynan Middleton struck out the next two batters and was facing Max Stassi with the game on the line.

Middleton bounced his 0-2 pitch, which was blocked by catcher Martin Maldonado. Both runners tried to advance on the ball in the dirt, and Maldonado recovered and threw to third to get Gurriel. Gurriel was called safe, but it was clear that Maldonado’s throw had beaten him and Luis Valbuena had applied the tag, so the Angels challenged.

It didn’t take long for the umpires to review the play and overturn the call to declare Gurriel out. That ended the game, taking the bat out of Stassi’s hands with a chance to tie the game or take the lead.

Those who say instant replay is bad for baseball should look at this as an example of where it is helpful. It was clear on replay that the umpires had blown the call on the field, so it was good they had a chance to review the play and correct it.

And while many people are criticizing Gurriel for getting thrown out at third, the real big mistake was by Bregman, who ran so far trying to advance that it forced Gurriel to try. Gurriel got a late jump and may have felt pressure behind him to run.

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