Marlin’s manager Don Mattingly protested the call and he went on a retest. However, according to the MLB rules for reps, it was only checked that the ball actually hit the batsman, in this case Conforto. Questions such as whether the pitch was a strike and whether Conforto tried to avoid it, are judgments and are not verifiable.

When the ball was confirmed to hit Conforto’s elbow, the call stayed and the Mets had a comeback win that even they recognized as a small gift.

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“We took a little break,” said Jeff McNeil, the second baseman in New York, who linked the game with a home run in the ninth inning before a series of events culminated with the walk-in HBP.

After McNeil opened the bottom half of ninth place, Marlin’s closer Anthony Bass got a groundout and then gave up a single and a double. With the runners in second and third place, Francisco Lindor was deliberately run by the Mets to load the bases and get to Conforto, who was struggling on the plate.

Counting 1-2, Bass threw a breaking ball that appeared to be directed into the top inner corner of the strike zone. Kulpa certainly believed it when he started calling Conforto, then quickly switching to a pitch hit move. That brought home New Yorker Luis Guillorme who finished third and deserved the wrath of Mattingly.

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“He wasn’t hit by bad luck – he was hit by a blow,” said the Marlins manager after the game. “That’s it. [Kulpa] went to name it and then he says it hit him. So if it’s a strike, how can it be a hit from bad luck? “

“Still a bit confused about what happened,” said Marlin’s catcher Chad Wallach. “I mean, we know what happened. He called it a strike and then changed his mind and called it a hit-by-pitch, so we’re confused on this point. I’ve never seen that before. “

The MLB rulebook states that a batsman may move to first base if he is “touched by a served ball that he is not attempting to hit unless (A) the ball is in the hitting zone when it hits the batsman touches, or (B) the batter makes no attempt not to be touched by the ball. “

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It looked like both conditions were met, despite Conforto claiming he was trying to move away.

“From my point of view, it was a slider. It felt like it was coming back to me and I turned around, ”he said. “It is possible that my elbow rose a bit out of habit and reaction, and it barely skimmed the edge of my elbow guard.”

Even the Mets announcement team thought it was a bad call.

“He made no effort to get out of the way,” said play-by-play man Gary Cohen as the television broadcast showed Mets players ceremoniously come onto the field. “It was a strike. … He put his elbow right into that playing field. “

“Not in the way I wanted to win the ball game, of course. I wanted to go up there and put the ball in play and drive the ball somewhere, ”said Conforto, who hits 200 with an extra base hit and two RBI in 15 record appearances to start the season.

“I have seen that [Kulpa] called me, ”he added. “I think that’s why you didn’t see a reaction from me right away. I didn’t know what was going to happen.

“I knew there was going to be some controversy. Our first base trainer yelled at me to get down there and touch the base and we should get out of here. “