The Houston Astros tied the ALCS, and the Boston Red Sox might have a gripe or two about how they got there.
The game-winning rally came in the ninth inning, which started with the game tied 2-2. The Astros got two men on with two outs against Red Sox starter-turned reliever Nate Eovaldi, leaving catcher Jason Castro to continue the inning.
Castro fell behind 1-2, then Eovaldi threw a curveball that seemed to hit the outside corner of the plate ... and then was called a ball.
Before the go-ahead base hit, this was the 1-2 pitch to Castro. pic.twitter.com/3PVLW8FFnt
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 20, 2021
You will not be shocked to hear that Red Sox fans had some thoughts on that call from home plate umpire Laz Diaz, who has never had the best reputation when it comes to calling balls and strikes.
The pitch certainly could have been called a strike. Did it rob the Red Sox? Well, the pitch was a curveball that spent plenty of time on the outside corner and didn't seem to be fully in the strike zone judging from the more advanced trackers.
Suffice to say, there have been more egregious "blown" calls.
Eovaldi did throw 5 strikes to Castro ... unfortunately he hit the 5th one. pic.twitter.com/GABeNUaNoy
— Obnoxious Boston Fan (@realOBF) October 20, 2021
The close call was part of a rough night for Diaz, which didn't help things.
Home-plate umpire Laz Diaz has missed 21 ball-strike calls tonight, according to @ESPNStatsInfo. That is the most of any umpire this postseason. The green dot in the upper RH corner is the Eovaldi curveball that would've ended top of the ninth with the score 2-2.
It is now 9-2. pic.twitter.com/VzdyL4lth3
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 20, 2021
Ball or strike, the pitch preceded some bat times for Boston. Castro broke the tie with a single, then the Astros proceeded to tag incoming reliever Martin Perez until the lead was 9-2.
The Red Sox and Astros are now tied 2-2, with Game 5 scheduled for 5:08 p.m. ET at Fenway Park on Wednesday.