Miami Marlins lefty Richard Bleier had himself an inning to forget Tuesday night against the Mets in New York, making major league history as the only player since 1900 to balk three times in the same at-bat, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Bleier, who opened the eighth inning in relief with the Marlins up 6-3, quickly retired his first two batters before allowing Jeff McNeil to reach on an infield single. With Pete Alonso at the plate, Bleier was called for a balk three times, allowing McNeil to come around to score.
« Words cannot describe what happened in that inning on my end, » said Bleier, a seven-year veteran who hadn’t been called for a balk in his first 303 big league appearances. « I don’t know. It was wild. »
Bleier grew increasingly agitated with each balk call. Following the run-scoring balk, Marlins manager Don Mattingly sprang out of the dugout and was ejected following a heated argument with the entire umpiring crew.
« I know I’m gone the minute I walk out of the dugout, » Mattingly said. « It’s just ridiculous. I guess you see something new every day in this game, and that was new for sure. »
After retiring Alonso on a groundout, Bleier began arguing with plate umpire Ryan Blakney. First baseman Lewin Diaz tried steering Bleier to the dugout, but Bleier continued arguing and was ejected.
The Marlins went on to win 6-4.
« It’s the same move I’ve been doing for 300 innings, and here we are, » Bleier said. « Maybe I was balking. I watched the video. I completely disagreed, but I’m biased, so I don’t know. »
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, only six other pitchers in major league history have balked three times in the same inning. Bleier was the first to do it since Jim Gott for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Mets on Aug. 6, 1988.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.