Astros hitting coach, Hinch tossed 1 pitch apart

ARLINGTON, Texas — Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch and hitting coach Alex Cintron were ejected after consecutive pitches for arguing balls and strikes in the second inning of Wednesday’s 4-0 loss at Texas.

According to umpire crew chief Jerry Meals, who was working third base, the Astros dugout “basically erupted” after a called strike on the first pitch thrown to Tyler White in the top of the second.

Hinch then came out after plate umpire Ron Kulpa stared toward the dugout. Nobody was initially ejected, but soon after the manager returned to the dugout and before the next pitch, Cintron was still chirping and was tossed.

When Hinch was asked if he was upset that Kulpa kept looking toward the dugout, the manager responded, “Yeah, I think things could have been handled differently. Everybody has social media. Everybody has a broadcast. So everybody knows what happened.”

One pitch later, after another called strike, Hinch was ejected and then came out of the dugout for a heated argument with Kulpa. Hinch was pulled away by bench coach Joe Espada, who took over as the acting manager.

“So we know you argue balls and strikes is one thing. When you get ejected more aggressively, it’s disappointing,” Hinch said.

On replay, Kulpa appeared to be saying “I can do whatever I want” while addressing Hinch.

“That’s what he said, and that’s apparently what he meant,” Hinch said. “He’s in charge. And obviously you make a scene I guess so everybody has to pay attention. But we’ll let the league sort it out.”

Meals said Kulpa had warned the Astros bench to “knock it off” and told Hinch that when he came out the first time.

“It was all because of the dugout complaining on pitches,” Meals said of the ejections.

In the bottom of the first, the Astros and starter Gerrit Cole were upset with a 2-2 fastball to Joey Gallo that was called a ball. Gallo eventually drew a two-out walk but didn’t score.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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