CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Indians took advantage of a controversial bases-loaded wild pitch in their 10-7 victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday.
The Indians scored a pair of runs on the play in the third inning that led to the ejection of Houston manager A.J. Hinch.
Replays showed Cleveland’s Lonnie Chisenhall fouled off the pitch from David Paulino, but plate umpire and crew chief Jim Joyce stood by his ruling of a wild pitch and Cleveland took a 4-1 lead.
Joyce told a pool reporter he didn’t see or hear the ball hit the bat and whether Chisenhall made contact wasn’t a reviewable play.
“We did not have the ball hitting the bat,” Joyce said. “Me originally, and then I went to each crew member and asked them the same thing. If any of them had it hitting the bat, I would have turned around and called a foul ball. My partners couldn’t help me on it.”
Hinch had an opposing view.
“I think everybody in the ballpark saw the play the way it happened except for the four guys on the field,” he said.
Cleveland led 2-1 when Chisenhall attempted to check his swing on a pitch in the dirt. The ball bounced away from catcher Jason Castro and rolled toward the on-deck circle near the Indians dugout.
Play was allowed to continue and all three runners — Francisco Lindor, Mike Napoli and Jose Ramirez — crossed the plate.
Hinch protested the ruling and was ejected by Joyce. After a video review, Lindor and Napoli were allowed to score and Ramirez was placed at second.
Chisenhall was unavailable for comment but Castro, who didn’t run after the ball, also disagreed with the call.
“I thought it was pretty obvious it was a foul ball,” he said. “(Joyce) just said he didn’t have the ball hitting the bat. The initial reaction is the biggest indicator, and you saw what happened. It was a pretty disappointing call for us.”
Lindor was on third base and immediately headed home when the ball rolled away.
“I heard a noise, but I don’t know if it hit the bat or hit the (catcher’s) mask,” he said.
Indians manager Terry Francona wasn’t sure initially what happened.
“We have the ability to go to replay, which they don’t,” he said. “Nobody ever wants to have a call go against them.”
Joyce explained he called time because he was discussing the play with Castro and wanted to stop the action on the field.
“I have not seen the play yet,” Joyce said. “I will be looking at it tonight, you can bank on that.”
In game interrupted by a 55-minute rain delay in the middle of the sixth, Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer — his 30th of the season. Lindor had three RBIs and Abraham Almonte hit a two-run triple.
Cleveland split the four-game series, opened a six-game lead over second-place Detroit in the AL Central and finished 8-2 on its homestand.
Trevor Bauer (11-6) allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings. Cody Allen, Cleveland’s fifth reliever, struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 26th save in 29 chances and second in as many nights.
Making his first major league start, Paulino (0-1) gave up four runs and four hits in three innings.
Colby Rasmus and Yulieski Gurriel homered, and Alex Bregman had three RBIs for the Astros, who trail Baltimore by 2 1/2 games for the second AL wild card.
Napoli pulled a pitch from Paulino that cleared the home run porch in left field and bounced onto the plaza located between the ballpark and Quicken Loans Arena. A fan ran after the foul ball, which traveled an estimated 464 feet.
Astros: Hinch hopes SS Carlos Correa (inflammation in left shoulder) will be available for the three-game series against the Chicago Cubs that begins Friday.
Astros: RHP Joe Musgrove (2-3) opens a three-game home series Friday against the Chicago Cubs and Jon Lester (15-4).
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar (11-6) begins a three-game series at Minnesota and Tyler Duffey (8-10). Salazar is 6-4 with a 3.38 ERA in 12 road starts this year.