Zack Greinke explains 'tipped' home run pitch

By , Audacy

Astros ace Zack Greinke turned heads in Game 4 of the ALDS when he appeared to tell an Oakland Athletics hitter what pitch was coming -- and promptly served up a three-run home run.

Many saw it as an inevitable failure of hubris for Greinke, who made a habit of making hand gestures all season -- in what some said was a case of the eccentric former Cy Young winner purposely tipping his pitches.

But after surrendering the bomb to Oakland's Ramon Laureano on Thursday, the 36-year-old Greinke said his hand signals were actually something much more mundane -- telling his catcher which series of signs to use with a runner on second base.

“That’s just what I’ve been doing this year for the most part," Greinke said, according to the Associated Press. "I just switched the pitch so it doesn’t waste time."

Laureano later clubbed another dinger off Greinke, this time a solo shot without the apparent benefit of a head's up -- but even he dismissed the significance of the pitcher's hand gesture.

“I don’t look at him when I hit," Laureano said of his routine between pitches. "I just look at the grass. Whenever he’s ready -- I just look at him."

Greinke said the first home run bothered him, but he could live with the second one.

“That was just a bad pitch," he said of the so-called tipped pitch. “The second slider I threw to him, I felt like I threw it good, and he still hit it.”

Greinke left the game after 4 2/3, taking a no-decision. The first homer he surrendered to Laureano put the Astros in an early three-run hole, but Houston stormed back with five runs in the fourth and held on to the lead the rest of the way.

The 2009 AL Cy Young winner has been pitching through an achy right shoulder throughout the playoffs.

With the win, the Astros moved on to the ALCS, where they will next face the winner of the Rays-Yankees ALDS.

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