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'It's a disgrace': Cleveland Guardians' Austin Hedges rips umps after controversial call

Cleveland Guardians catcher Austin Hedges didn't hold back when discussing the controversial call that occurred in the first inning of Tuesday night's game.

CLEVELAND — With two outs in the top of the first inning of the matchup between the Cleveland Guardians and Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night, Tigers first baseman Harold Castro hit a grounder up the middle of the infield, which proceeded to hit second base and bounce back toward the hole.

The ball was recovered by Cleveland shortstop Tyler Freeman, who proceeded to fire the ball to catcher Austin Hedges, who then tagged Detroit shortstop Javy Baez for what appeared to be the third and final out of the inning.

Or so the Guardians thought.

Tigers manager A.J. Hinch challenged the play, arguing that Hedges -- who received the ball ahead of the runner's arrival -- illegally blocked Baez from the plate. The replay officials ruled in Detroit's favor, not only giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead, but keeping the inning alive.

One batter later, designated hitter Kerry Carpenter extended Detroit's lead to 3-0 with a two-run home run off of Cleveland starter Zach Plesac. Speaking to Bally Sports' Andre Knott after the game, Hedges didn't mince words, laying into the umpire crew, including the replay officials, who are located in New York City.

"First of all, it cost the game,” Hedges said following the Guardians' 4-3 loss. “It’s a play that’s been called a few times now recently that really has never been called before. And for some reason, New York feels like they need to take over the game and change the way the game’s played. Guys are just out. There’s plays at home that are beating the runners and for 150 years you’re out. And now, we’re calling some type of rule that is really tricky to define.

"And to be able to take the game into their own hands that way and to -- first of all, that cost one run automatically -- and then what ended up transitioning. Honestly, it’s a disgrace, it’s embarrassing. I think New York owes Zach Plesac specifically an apology because they took the game out of his hands. The guy was throwing the ball amazing. And overturning that call right there, like I said, it cost the game."

Hedges proceeded to take aim at the rest of the umpire crew from Tuesday night's game, which saw Cleveland manager Terry Francona and center fielder Myles Straw ejected in the ninth inning following another controversial call.

"I don’t need to get into the rest of the debacle with the umpires because it was a really, really poor poor executed job by them," Hedges said. "It’s too bad. It’s too bad when we play a sport where we get held accountable. Where we say something, we get held accountable. We get mocked. We get shamed. There’s no accountability on their part right now. And that’s really, really sad. I don’t know why, but there needs to be a little bit of -- you know we talk about equality in this world right now -- there ain’t no equality with that. These guys are going out there with no responsibilities. They say, ‘OK, here’s a play where I can show my power. Here’s a play where I can take over the game. And that’s not the game that we play. That’s not the game that we’ve played for forever. And they’re trying to take over the game and they’re trying to change the game. 

"And it’s disappointing. And for a team that goes out there and fights every single night to win every game, for it to cost us a game when we’re trying to win a division, we’re trying to make the playoffs, we’re trying to do something special. For that to be taken out of our hands like that is a disgrace and it’s extremely disappointing. I’m disappointed and that’s all I have to say. Thank you."

With the loss, the Guardians fell to 62-55 on the season and enter Wednesday night's matchup against Detroit with a one-game lead over the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox in the American League Central Division.

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