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Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco ejected after foreign substance check early in win over A’s

Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco ejected after foreign substance check early in win over A's

Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco was ejected on Tuesday night after a foreign substance check in Houston's 2-1 extra-innings win over the Oakland Athletics.

Third base umpire Laz Diaz inspected Blanco’s glove and ejected him before the start of the fourth inning at Minute Maid Park. His glove was confiscated after umpires passed it around during the inspection while Blanco pleaded his case. Blanco walked away and watched while the umpires opted to throw him out.

Blanco is likely facing a 10-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's foreign substance policy, something the league started cracking down on midway through the 2021 season. Blanco said that he will file an appeal if he is suspended.

Astros manager Joe Espada said that, at least from his view, he saw rosin mixed with sweat in Blanco's glove. He was told that rosin was found on Blanco's non-pitching hand, which is illegal and is what led to the ejection. First base umpire Erich Bacchus said after the game that, after checking Blanco's glove, "it was the stickiest stuff I've felt on a glove since we've been doing this for a few years now."

"It was probably rosin I put on my left arm," Blanco said, via The Athletic's Chandler Rome. "Maybe cause of the sweat, it got into the glove and that's what they maybe found."

Blanco said he doesn't always put rosin on his left arm, but that he does sometimes when he sweats, and that he didn't know it was illegal.

Blanco got off to a historic start to the season earlier this spring. He threw his first MLB career no-hitter on April 1, which marked the only one in the majors so far, while leading the Astros to a 10-0 blowout win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Blanco threw the no-hitter in the eighth start of his career.

He continued his dominance in his next start. Blanco ended up going 14 straight innings and 44 outs without allowing a hit, which was the best start to a season by a pitcher since at least 1961. Those two outings quickly earned him a regular spot in the Astros' rotation.

Ronel Blanco, who threw a no-hitter earlier this year, is now likely facing 10 game suspension. (AP/David J. Phillip)

Blanco holds a 2.23 ERA and a 4-0 record in more than 44 innings this season. The 30-year-old had allowed four hits and struck out one through three innings before he was ejected. He was replaced by Tayler Scott.

The Astros took the lead on an Alex Bregman solo home run in the second inning. The Athletics' Brent Rooker tied the game with an RBI single in the eighth. Victor Caratini's RBI-single into center in the 10th inning secured the win for Houston.

The Astros are 17-25. After losing eight of their first 10 to start the season, the Astros have won five of their past six, including a 9-2 win over the A’s to kick off their series on Monday night.

The loss dropped the A's, who have lost three straight and five of their last six, to 19-25 on the year.

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