Miami Marlins pitcher Richard Blayer spent seven seasons in his MLB career before making his first pitch. The wait for his second and third lockouts was more than a little shorter.
The game between the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets turned sharply into an army show on Tuesday when first base umpire John Tumpane called Blair not one, not two, but three balls in one at-bat during the eighth inning.
With the Marlins up 6–3, Blayer allowed Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil to score two strikeouts to lead slugger Pete Alonso to victory. Alonso is one of the last hitters you want to face when you have something else to worry about, but that’s what happened when Tumpain stepped in to rule that Blyer wasn’t properly set up before throwing his first submission.
Blair questioned the first challenge, but was visibly confused when Tumpain hit him with the same challenge two steps later. He contested his deal with Tampain before teammate Levin Diaz stepped in to end the confrontation, after which Marlins manager Don Mattingly arrived on the mound for a quick conference call.
Beams are among the referee calls that are illegal for disputes between players and managers, so ending the debate was probably the right move for the Marlins.
Unfortunately, Tumpain didn’t quite make it, as he then called another Blair ban for failing to play properly again, hitting McNeal on the first try with no stolen bases or balls in play. Mattingly re-entered the field and was quickly ejected.
Blijer stayed in the game and finally completed the serve with an Alonso strikeout, but was thrown out after the serve ended. The incident reduced the Marlins’ lead to two rounds, although they held on in the ninth round to take a 6-4 win.
Per ESPN Statistics and Information, Blair’s three balls tie the MLB record for most in one inning. The last time there were so many players in a baseball game was Jim Gott of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988.
Blair entered Tuesday with a career 3.05 ERA in 295.1 innings. He hadn’t made any shots until Tuesday, but will retire Tuesday as MLB’s all-time shooting leader this season. Put it in the “things you don’t see in a baseball stadium every day” box.