HOUSTON (AP)Pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz was already heading toward first base after a pitch nicked off the pad protecting his left elbow.
It appeared the Astros had loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning in Game 1 of the World Series. Except plate umpire James Hoye immediately called Diaz back, saying he had leaned into the inside slider from Philadelphia reliever David Robertson and was not being awarded first base.
Two pitches later, Diaz hit a game-ending grounder and the Phillies held on for a 6-5 victory after rallying from an early five-run deficit.
Robertson was certain Diaz leaned into the pitch. The reliever also didn’t think it was a ball.
”I personally thought it was a strike,” Robertson said. ”I didn’t know the rules were that it’s a ball. It didn’t help me anyway.”
The ball was ruled dead after hitting Diaz, which left him with a 3-0 count. He then swung and missed at a slider before grounding out on another slider.
While he clearly disagreed that he leaned into the pitch, Diaz didn’t put up much of an argument – and Astros manager Dusty Baker never came out of the dugout.
”There was nothing I could do about it. He already called it,” Diaz said. ”I saw something up and in. I think it was a fastball coming in. I tried to turn over.”
Diaz, batting for Trey Mancini, went to the plate with runners on first and second. Both moved up when Robertson threw a wild pitch, and it was a 2-0 count after a knuckle curve that almost hit Diaz as he ducked out of the way.
Gary Pettis was back coaching third base for the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series after missing the entire American League Championship Series because of illness.
Baker said before Friday night’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies that Pettis was doing very well and had been cleared by the team doctor to return to the field.
”I didn’t think he was going to be, but he wants to be here,” Baker said. ”He did everything that was needed to clear the protocols of health, and so he’s doing great.”
Omar Lopez returned to coaching first base after switching to third to fill in for Pettis. Quality control coach Dan Firova coached first base while Pettis was out.
Pettis has also been the club’s outfield and baserunning instructor since joining the Astros before the 2015 season.
The Astros have not been specific about the nature of the illness that kept Pettis out of the ALCS.
Pettis was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in September 2020 and was away from the team until July 2021 while undergoing treatment for the blood cancer.
While the Astros are in the World Series for the second season in a row, and fourth time in six years, there won’t be a repeat champion for the 22nd consecutive season.
The Atlanta Braves beat Houston in six games during last year’s World Series, clinching the title at Minute Maid Park.
Atlanta’s pursuit of a second straight championship ended in the best-of-five National League Division Series, when they were knocked out in four games by the underdog Phillies.
The New York Yankees were the last team to win consecutive World Series, with three titles in a row from 1998-2000.
NO GUNS AT THE BALLPARK
The city of Houston tweeted out a reminder to fans going to Game 1 of the World Series: leave your guns at home.
People can qualify under the law in Texas to carry a handgun in a public place without a license, but there are still situations when that is not allowed.
In a tweet on the city’s official account, a Houston police sergeant welcomes everyone in town for the World Series with a reminder that guns aren’t allowed at Minute Maid Park.
The message encouraged fans to leave their guns at home or in their hotel rooms, and also said having a car safe is great. But it also said 3,700 guns were stolen out of cars in Houston last year.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports