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Umpires find 'stickiest stuff' in Ronel Blanco's glove, eject Astros pitcher

Houston Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco (L) now faces a potential 10-game suspension from MLB. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Houston Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco (L) now faces a potential 10-game suspension from MLB. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

May 15 (UPI) -- Umpire Erich Bacchus said he found "the stickiest stuff" he has ever felt on a glove while doing an inspection on Ronel Blanco, triggering the pitcher's ejection during a Houston Astros win over the Oakland Athletics.

The incident occurred before Blanco headed to the mound in the top of the fourth inning of the 2-1 triumph Tuesday in Houston. Blanco's glove was confiscated and will be examined as part of an additional investigation, which could lead to a suspension.

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"It was the stickiest stuff I've felt on a glove since we've been doing this for a few years now," Bacchus said in a pool report.

Blanco, who threw a no-hitter on April 1 in his first start of the season, allowed four hits and no runs through the first three innings of Tuesday's game. He also totaled four strikeouts.

Blanco claimed that the substance was rosin and that he "didn't know" it was against MLB rules for pitchers to use sticky substances on their non-throwing hands.

"No, I didn't know that was illegal," Blanco told reporters. "I see other pitchers come in and do it, as well, so I thought that was normal."

The umpire crew met near the mound before opting to toss Blanco from the game. Astros manager Joe Espada said he saw a substance inside Blanco's glove when he met with the umpires. He was denied when he asked if the pitcher could switch gloves and remain in the game.

"It sucks, because he was throwing the ball well," Espada said. "I believe I saw the substance in there and the stickiness to it."

Relief pitcher Tayler Scott replaced Blanco and did not allow a hit or run over two innings.

Astros third baseman Alex Bregman hit a 370-foot homer in the bottom of the second inning for the first run of the night. Athletics left fielder Brent Rooker roped an RBI single to center to tie the score in the top of the eighth.

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Pinch hitter Victor Caratini went on to win the game with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th. Astros closer Josh Hader did not allow a hit or run over the final two innings en route to his second win of the season.

Blanco, 30, owns a 4-0 record with a 2.09 ERA through eight starts this season. He faces an automatic 10-game suspension if found to have violated MLB rules related to using foreign substances to intentionally doctor a baseball. Blanco told reporters he would appeal that ban.

Blanco's suspension could result in major impact on the Astros (17-25), who sit in fourth place in the American League West, 5.5 games behind the division-leading Seattle Mariners (23-20). The Astros will host the third-place Athletics (19-25) at 8:10 p.m. EDT Wednesday in Houston.

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