PHILADELPHIA — Even Starlin Castro knew Roberto Hernandez didn’t hit him on purpose.
Jake Arrieta threw seven impressive innings, Castro hit a two-run home run and the Chicago Cubs beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 on Friday night in matchup of last-place National League baseball teams.
A strange ejection occurred in the sixth inning when Hernandez was tossed by plate umpire Mark Ripperger after hitting Castro on the left arm with a fastball. There were no previous warnings, hit batters or inside pitches. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg also was ejected after he came out to argue.
“I don’t think he did it on purpose,” Castro said. “He’s a good friend of mine. I see him every day in the Dominican. I don’t think he would do that on purpose. He told me, ‘I’m sorry.’ It’s not on purpose. I already know. He’s not like that. He’s not that kind of person.”
The umpires didn’t see it that way.
“In our opinion he threw at the hitter,” crew chief Gary Cederstrom said.
Asked if a warning should’ve come first, Cederstrom said: “I thought the appropriate action was taken.”
Hernandez was baffled. He threw his arms up in disbelief on the mound before walking off the field to cheers from the crowd.
“I was very, very surprised,” he said. “I didn’t throw that on purpose. I wanted to continue to throw the ball down. I had two outs. I wanted to pitch into the next inning. I didn’t throw it on purpose. I wanted to keep pitching.”
Arrieta (2-1) allowed two hits and no runs, tying a career high with nine strikeouts. He didn’t give up a hit until Domonic Brown sliced a double just inside the left-field line with one out in the fifth.