Marlins’ right-hander Dan Straily exited Sunday’s game after firing 5 1/3 innings of a no-hitter during the club’s series finale against the Mets. He held the Mets hitless into the sixth inning, but was pulled after his 93rd pitch and fifth walk of the afternoon, putting runners in scoring position for the first time and jeopardizing the team’s 1-0 lead.
Before things got out of control in the sixth, however, Straily looked nearly untouchable. He struck out five batters and was bailed out in the fifth inning by Marcell Ozuna‘s incredible catch atop the left field wall:
The Marlins continued the combined no-hitter for another 2 1/3 innings, sending out lefty prospect Jarlin Garcia to finish off the sixth and utilizing right-hander Kyle Barraclough in the seventh inning. Brad Ziegler got the ball in the eighth, inducing a groundout and catching Curtis Granderson on a swinging strikeout before giving up the no-no on a 2-0 single to Neil Walker.
The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.
Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.
Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.
James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.
The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.