Touch 'Em All: Umps blow another call

New York Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte delivers against the Boston Red Sox in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, April 4, 2013. (Kathy Willens/AP)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte delivers against the Boston Red Sox in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, April 4, 2013. (Kathy Willens/AP)
Posted: May 13, 2013

What was already a bad time for umpires got worse Saturday when one of them walked a batter on just three called balls.

It happened in Kansas City with two outs in the fifth inning. Royals batter Lorenzo Cain was awarded first base on the seventh pitch of his at-bat after the Yankees' Andy Pettitte buried a pitch in the dirt.

Home-plate umpire Mark Wegner called ball four.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi disagreed, setting off a controversy.

"We thought in the dugout it was 2-2," he said.

Even the batter suspected as much: "I thought it was 2-2," Cain said.

Pettitte said he wouldn't have buried the pitch if the count had been 3-2.

"I know it's 2-2 and I'm bouncing a ball in front of home plate and everybody in the ballpark looks at me like I'm nuts," he said.

Statisticians charting pitches in the press box said the confusion apparently came on the first pitch, which they initially counted as a called strike. Later, after the walk was issued, the call was changed to a ball.

In the end, the walk had no effect on the outcome. The next batter, Alex Gordon grounded out, and the Yankees won, 3-2. It did, however, affect the reputations of umps in general.

Joba and Mo go at it

Yankees relievers Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera got into a tiff in front of reporters before Saturday night's game in Kansas City, causing a stir.

Rivera was talking to reporters in the dugout about an emotional meeting he had earlier with fans while at the same time Chamberlain was standing nearby chatting with his family.

Rivera appeared to get sidetracked while answering questions by Chamberlain's discourse in the background and eventually shouted: "Joba! Yo, bro, shush. Stop it."

When Rivera's interview wrapped up, Chamberlain barked: "Don't ever shush me again."

On Sunday, Chamberlain explained that it had been just a squabble between brothers, and that no apologies were needed.

Rivera said nothing.

Melky to get ring

From the "We didn't see this coming" file: Former Giant Melky Cabrera will receive a World Series ring this week when San Francisco plays in Toronto, the disgraced slugger's current employer.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he intends to speak with Cabrera.

"I'm appreciative of him being here and playing hard every day," Bochy said. "What's happened, happened. That's behind us."

Cabrera was leading the NL in batting when he was suspended for 50 games on Aug. 15 for using testosterone. Although the slugger's suspension ended with the completion of the Giants' division series vs. the Reds, Cabrera was left off the postseason roster.

Humber sent down

We saw this one coming: The Astros on Sunday designated pitcher Philip Humber, who a year ago pitched the 21st perfect game in major-league history, for assignment.

On Wednesday, Humber lost his starting job after a compiling an 0-7 record with an 8.42 ERA. On Saturday against the Rangers, he gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning to blow a save, leaving him at 0-8 with a 9.59 ERA.

Quite a fall for the righthander, who was with the White Sox when he pitched his perfecto on April 21, 2012, against the Mariners.

Rockies' drought over

The Rockies finally got over the hump Sunday.

Not only did they end a stubborn scoreless streak, but they won. Troy Tulowitzki's three-run home run in the third inning against the Cardinals ended the Rockies' string of pearls at 28 innings, two short of the team record. Then they kept on scoring, winning, 8-2, in St. Louis.

The slump was the longest since a streak of 30 consecutive innings in 2010, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, 2010, according to STATS.

- Wire reports

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