HOUSTON,TX- JULY 07: Zack Greinke #13 of the Milwaukee Brewers pleads with first base umpire Sam Holbrook after he was ejected for arguing a close play at first base where Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros was ruled safe on July 7, 2012 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
W: Wandy Rodriguez (7-6)
L: Zack Greinke (9-3)
Save: Brett Myers (18)
HR: Scott Moore (3)
Major League umpire Samuel Woodford Holbrook "overcame the odds and is living the dream" according to a story written during the off-season by the Central Kentucky News. The story details Holbrook’s rise from umpiring the Pony Leagues to the 2010 World Series. While Holbrook remains neutral on his favorite MLB team, he does have a favorite venue.
"I like going to Wrigley Field," he said. "The Cubs fans are great. ... The city of Chicago is just great, with all of the restaurants and they have day games. We can actually work like human beings and go out to dinner at a decent hour of the night."
You probably don’t read recaps to learn about umpires but, then, you probably don’t watch games to see umpires in action, either. Sam Holbrook hopes to change your mind.
Holbrook became the story of the game when he ejected starting pitcher Zack Greinke in the first inning after Greinke had thrown just four pitches. Jordan Schafer led off the bottom of the first with a sharp liner to center field that Carlos Gomez misplayed. Schafer ended up at third base. Jose Altuve followed with a ground ball between first and second base that Corey Hart laid out to snare. Greinke quickly raced to cover first base and seemed to arrive at about the same time as Altuve. Holbrook signaled safe. Greinke took a few steps toward second base and spiked the ball into the dirt.
Up went Holbrook’s thumb and Greinke was tossed. Ron Roenicke came out to argue and was told to join Greinke in the clubhouse.
It did not appear that Greinke was disputing the call as he did not say anything to Holbrook, nor did he make eye contact with the umpire. It appeared that Greinke was frustrated at himself for not getting to first base more quickly. He appeared to tell Holbrook as much following the ejection. But Holbrook's the law in these here parts and the law said to hit the showers.
With Greinke's day over early, the Brewers were forced to fill nine innings with an already taxed bullpen. (Send us a picture of your scorecard if you scored this one at home.) First entered Livan Hernandez, who went three innings and gave up three runs on five hits, followed by Jose Veras (1R, 1IP), Randy Wolf (1R, 2IP), Tim Dillard (.1 IP), Manny Parra (.2IP) and, finally, Kam Loe (1IP).
Milwaukee trailed 6-0 before finally getting two runs in the sixth inning behind two errors from third baseman Scott Moore and a wild pitch. Wandy Rodriguez was very good for Houston going 5.1 innings with no runs and five strikeouts. The Brewers would manage only one more run in the eighth on a Cody Ransom double for the 6-3 final. The win snaps a nine game losing steak for the Astros.