HOUSTON (AP) — Bryan Abreu gave up Nathaniel Lowe’s two-run homer in the Houston Astros’ 11-4 loss to the Texas Rangers in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series on Monday night after his two-game suspension for intentionally throwing at Adolis García delayed until the start of next season.
Abreu was suspended Saturday by MLB senior vice president Michael Hill, a day after the incident. The reliever appealed, allowing him to pitch in Game 6, and a hearing was held Monday before John McHale Jr., a special assistant to baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred. McHale put off the suspension until the regular season.
Abreu entered in the sixth inning of Game 7 with Houston trailing 8-2 and hit his second batter, Mitch Garver, on the left side with a 97.2 mph fastball. Lowe homered with two outs, raising Abreu’s postseason ERA from 2.45 to 4.32 in nine appearances.
Abreu said before the game he was pleased with the discipline resolution because it allowed him to pitch this postseason despite the suspension not being reduced.
“Of course,” he said. “I’m glad to be here and try to help the team to win.”
The players’ association declined comment.
Abreu pitched the eighth inning Sunday night, but manager Dusty Baker didn’t leave him in longer because he wanted him to be available in case his suspension was overturned or delayed.
“That was kind of what I was hoping for when I didn’t use him in a down game two innings yesterday,” Baker said. “He told me he was prepared to throw as many as possible just in case he had to serve a suspension. So it’s a blessing to have him for today.”
Abreu’s suspension was issued after MLB said all six umpires determined he intentionally threw at García in the eighth inning in Game 5 when he hit the slugger on the left arm with a 98.9 mph fastball. Two innings earlier, García flipped his bat and took a slow trot around the bases after his soaring three-run homer gave Texas a 4-2 lead in Arlington.
In suspending Abreu, MLB said it “took into account the dangerous nature of the pitch and its potential impact on player safety.”
The right-hander’s pitch angered García and prompted a benches-clearing scuffle that led to a 12-minute delay. Abreu, García and Baker were ejected.
Houston won 5-4 on Jose Altuve’s three-run homer in the ninth.
Abreu said going through this situation has helped improved his ability to block out off-the-field distractions.
“That’s part of the being an athlete,” he said. “Teams come around us and we just have to learn how to be focused on being great on the field and all that and try to separate all that happens outside of the field. And that’s probably one of the best things that I’ve been learning lately.”
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.
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