Rich Hill had a tough day in his return to the mound, taking the loss in Wednesday’s series finale at Houston. Making his first appearance in over a month, the Red Sox veteran surrendered six hits and four runs over three listless innings, serving up a two-run blast to newcomer Trey Mancini in his Astros debut.
He also struck out a batter, though, and upon further review, Hill should actually have been credited with a second punchout, catching the inside corner on a 1-2 changeup to Yordan Alvarez. As you can see in the clip below, Alvarez was inexplicably granted a fourth strike with nobody, including Hill (perhaps still catching his breath from chasing a pop fly moments earlier), realizing the Astros slugger should have been rung up by home plate umpire Jim Wolf.
Nothing came of the unusual occurrence — Alvarez grounded out to first baseman Bobby Dalbec on the very next pitch. Still, it’s rare to see an entire umpiring crew — not to mention the opposing team — completely fall asleep at the wheel, giving one of the best young hitters in baseball (Alvarez leads the majors in OPS this season) an extra bite at the apple. Chalk it up to the early start time or general malaise from a whirlwind trade deadline that saw the Astros and Red Sox swing multiple deals, including one with each other, swapping catcher Christian Vazquez for up-and-comers Wilyer Abreu and Enmanuel Valdez.
Jose Urquidy flirted with a no-hitter (Sox newcomer Reese McGuire broke it up with a base hit to lead off the sixth inning) as the Astros cruised to an easy 6-1 win in Wednesday’s matinee at Minute Maid Park, avoiding what would have been a rare sweep for the reigning AL Champs.