The Houston Astros were about to load the bases in the 10th inning of Game 1 of the 2022 World Series, but then umpire James Hoye did something unfortunate for them. His job.
The final plate appearance of the game on Friday saw a big turn of events when Astros pinch-hitter Aledmys Díaz drew what looked like a hit-by-pitch against Philadelphia Phillies reliever David Robertson. At the time, there were runners on second and third with two outs.
Díaz started walking toward first base, only for Hoye to call him back, ruling the Astros veteran had leaned into the pitch, making it a mere ball rather than an automatic base. The Houston crowd vocally disapproved.
Aledmys Díaz was hit by a pitch, but the umpire ruled that he leaned into it, and it was ruled a ball instead of a HBP.
Díaz ended up making the final out. pic.twitter.com/GVksnJC5Q2
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 29, 2022
The MLB rulebook is clear on the matter via Rule 5.05(b)(2), which states
The batter becomes a runner when ... he is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless (A) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (B) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball.
Clearly, Díaz didn't just make no attempt to avoid the ball; he leaned forward and pushed his elbow out, with no risk of pain thanks to his elbow guard. Instead, Díaz was given a 3-0 count and eventually provided the final out with a groundout to Phillies third baseman Edmundo Sosa.
When asked if he was "shocked" by the umpire's call by a Houston reporter, Díaz responded "Yeah, my first reaction was going to first and then he said I was leaning. Nothing you can do about it in the moment."
The magic of a hot mic on the international broadcast provided Hoye's side of the story, namely his immediate reaction to the would-be hit-by-pitch: "No way. Timeout. Timeout, stay here. Stay here. He f***ing leaned right into that."
The 6-5 win gives the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series, with Game 2 on tap at 8:03 p.m. ET on Saturday.