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Umpires called the Astros’ Luis Garcia on a quirky bases-loaded balk and he was furious

If you needed another reason to see why Major League Baseball will test robot umpires by 2024, what happened to Astros pitcher Luis Garcia against the Athletics (+1.5) on Friday night was an excellent example.

At the top of the third inning, with Houston already down a run, Garcia was caught in a bases-loaded, two-out jam with Oakland’s Chad Pinder at the plate. After Garcia delivered what he thought was a second-strike pitch, an umpire overruled the initial call with … a balk?

With the bases loaded, the quirky balk call on Garcia meant the Athletics automatically scored another run to take a 2-0 lead. Because Garcia’s typical wind-up is quite long (but usually consistent!) anyway, he was understandably furious.

The pitcher argued with several members of the umpire crew, and even manager Dusty Baker came in to dispute the ruling:

I mean, I get it. You’re trying to protect the runners. But this feels specious. Like a subjective call that an umpire is itching to make given the tense situation, instead of it being correct. Though, perhaps given Garcia’s usual wind-up, he might have been due for a balk.

MLB fans had many thoughts about the quirky bases-loaded balk called on Garcia

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