Major League baseball suspended head umpire Fieldin Culbreth for two games and fined the rest of the crew on Friday after admitting the umpires did not apply a rule correctly.
The incident occurred in the seventh inning on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park. Houston Astros manager Bo Porter brought in reliever Wesley Wright from the bullpen, and the pitcher threw several warm-up pitches. Porter then decided to bring in another pitcher before Wright faced a hitter, calling Hector Ambriz to the mound.
Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia correctly argued that Wright needed to face one hitter before being removed from the game. Culbreth and his crew allowed Ambriz to stay and pitch, which caused the Angels to play the rest of the game under protest. Los Angeles ended up rallying for a 6-5 victory.
MLB released a statement saying Culbreth was responsible for ""the misapplication of Official Baseball Rule 3.05(b)," which states fairly clearly:
"If the pitcher is replaced, the substitute pitcher shall pitch to the batter then at bat, or any substitute batter, until such batter is put out or reaches first base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the substitute pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the umpire-in-chief's judgment, incapacitates him for further play as a pitcher."
Culbreth is the only umpire to receive a suspension, while Brian O'Nora, Bill Welke and Adrian Johnson were fined an undisclosed amount of money.
The Culbreth ruling was the second controversial call in two days, as Angel Hernandez and his crew missed a home-run call on Wednesday. Adam Rosales should have hit a game-tying home run for the Oakland Athletics against the Cleveland Indians, but the original call on the field was a double.
Hernandez and the crew then went to the video review, and upheld the original call despite clear evidence on the video review that the ball cleared the wall. MLB Vice President Joe Torre said that the crew made an "improper call," but the league did not hand out any punishment.