Mark Kotsay

Kotsay doesn't believe Blanco controversy impacted A's in loss

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What became a gripping baseball contest between the Houston Astros and the Athletics ultimately was overshadowed by an ejection on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park.

Astros starter Ronel Blanco was ejected from the Houston's eventual walk-off 2-1 win at the start of the fourth inning after umpires discovered a foreign substance on his glove.

The ejection could lead to an immediate 10-game suspension, as MLB made a rule change in 2021 to substantially punish pitchers who are found with substances on their gloves. This was the seventh time since the rule was created in 2021 that a pitcher has been removed from a game due to a substance on the glove.

Manager Mark Kotsay did not think the Blanco ejection made that big of an impact, as his team struggled to get hits and produce runs against Houston’s solid bullpen.

“I don’t think it impacted us,” Kotsay said. “They got three innings out of him and then went to the bullpen, and then obviously they used all of their leverage guys tonight. For us to get to [Ryan] Pressly and get a run … Obviously, our offense the last two nights hasn’t done a ton, these guys have pitched us really well and we have two games left.”

Adding resin or other sticky substances can change the grip of the ball, something that is not allowed in the league. Blanco was examined by the umpires, who then took his glove for further examination and removed the 30-year-old from the ballgame. Blanco has been one of the Astros' best pitchers during this season, throwing a no-hitter in his first start earlier this season.

After the game, Blanco told reporters he had resin on his arm and it must have somehow transferred to his glove, adding he didn't know that was against the rules (h/t The Athletic's Chandler Rome).

The A’s struggled against Blanco and the Houston bullpen, going scoreless until Brent Rooker’s RBI single in the eighth.

Oakland starter JP Sears and the rest of the pitching staff held the Astros to just one run via an Alex Bregman home run before the game went to extra innings.

Despite having two runners on base in the top of the 10th inning, the A’s were unable to score, allowing the Astros to walk off. Houston did just that in the bottom of the inning, winning the game thanks to a Victor Caratini RBI single.

While Oakland’s pitching kept them in the game, the lack of hitting over the past few contests has sent the team into a tailspin, dropping eight out of the past 10 games.

The A’s have two more games against the Astros to right the ship, and given how well Oakland has been pitching, the team will have an opportunity to get back on track.

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