By Matt Snyder
Marlins reliever Edward Mujica has been ejected for hitting Bill Hall of the Astros with a pitch. Neither team had been warned and it was the first pitch Mujica had thrown in the game.
Mujica entered the game in the bottom of the seventh with the Marlins trailing 6-1 and dotted Hall in the back with a first-pitch fastball. Home plate umpire Jim Joyce immediately ejected Mujica -- who didn't seem to react.
So was the pitch in retaliation for Hall taking out Marlins' star Hanley Ramirez Friday with a hard slide at second base? It's tough to tell.
We have to consider Mujica's reaction, or lack thereof. It was almost as if he was expecting to get tossed. Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez, however, argued at length rather vehemently with Joyce. He also didn't have anyone else up in the bullpen ready to come in. Being down by five on getaway day late in the game would be an opportune time to retaliate, but if the manager ordered it he would have been ready to bring someone else in. There's always the possibility Mujica did it on his own -- or simply lost control of his fastball. Then again, he hasn't hit a big-league batter since 2008. From 2009 until Sunday, he'd thrown 167 innings with zero hit batsman.
UPDATE: In the top of the ninth inning, Astros reliever Aneury Rodriguez hit Gaby Sanchez with a pitch and was ejected. It was the sixth pitch of the at-bat and the count was 2-2.
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