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Zack Greinke exits start with apparent injury

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Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke exited Wednesday afternoon’s start against the Pirates with two outs in the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Grienke grimaced after throwing a pitch to Pirates reliever Chris Stratton, batting in what was at the time an 8-0 game in favor of the D-Backs. Greinke spoke with the team trainer before exiting the game. Yoshihisa Hirano entered the game and finished off the at-bat by striking out Stratton to end the inning.

Grienke may have suffered his apparent injury when he was batting to lead off the sixth inning, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic suggests. At any rate, the D-Backs should pass along word on Greinke’s status later tonight. [Update: Greinke was removed due to abdominal tightness and will undergo an MRI on Friday, the team says.]

On the afternoon, Greinke pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings, limiting the Pirates to just four hits with no walks and five strikeouts as the D-Backs won 11-1. He now owns a 6-1 record with a 2.78 ERA and a 62/8 K/BB ratio in 64 2/3 innings this season.

Umpire Cory Blaser made two atrocious calls in the top of the 11th inning

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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.