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Day ejected for having glue on his finger

5/17/2003

DENVER (AP) -- The Montreal Expos almost came unglued after the
early ejection of starter Zach Day.

Pinch-hitter Henry Mateo hit a two-run single in the 10th inning and Montreal overcame Day's ejection for having glue on his finger as the Expos beat the Colorado Rockies 6-4 on Saturday.

Pitchers like Phil Niekro and Gaylord Perry were notorious for
using foreign objects to doctor baseballs in the 1970s and 80s, but
Day had a more innocent reason for having goop on his hand: to
cover up a blister.

Day developed the blister on his right middle finger in the
first two innings and used the glue to cover it up before heading
out to pitch the third.

Big mistake.

Under rule 8.02 (b), a pitcher is automatically ejected if he is
found with any foreign substance on his fingers.

"We don't really believe the kid thought he was cheating, but
that has nothing to do with it,'' home plate umpire Bill Miller
said. "He had a foreign substance on his person and that means he
is in violation of this rule.''

The great glue experiment didn't last long.

After opening the third by walking Ronnie Belliard, Day tried to peel the glue off because it was bothering him. He couldn't get it,
so trainer Ron McClain came out to the mound to help him.

Miller and second base umpire Joe West noticed what they were
doing and told manager Frank Robinson that they would have to
report Day to the league. Umpires then met at the mound and
determined Day should be ejected.

Day stayed in the background with a dejected look on his face
while Robinson and pitching coach Randy St. Claire argued his case
to no avail. Day then walked slowly to the dugout after Robinson
called for Claudio Vargas from the bullpen.

"It was too slick, I couldn't feel the ball,'' Day said. "I
was trying to get it off. I was just trying to prevent the blister
from getting worse. I wasn't trying to do anything.''

It almost cost Montreal the game.

Day has been the Expos' best starter this season at 4-1 and had
not lost since 6-1 setback at Chicago on April 8.

Montreal led 2-0 when he went out, the bullpen struggled and
fell behind 4-3 after Chris Stynes hit a two-run homer in the sixth
and Todd Helton's run-scoring single in the seventh.

But the Rockies couldn't hold the lead.

The Expos tied it at 4 in the eighth inning on left fielder Jay
Payton's throwing error and set up Mateo's single up the middle in
the 10th by loading the bases off Todd Jones (1-2).

Mateo missed on a squeeze bunt, causing Brad Wilkerson to get
hung up between third and home for the first out, but followed with
a single through a drawn-in Rockies infield for Montreal's ninth
win in the final at-bat this season.

"They've been carrying me all year. The least I can do is go
out there and get three outs,'' said Jones, who has allowed 12 runs
in 11 innings in May.

Colorado wasted a strong effort from Jason Young in his second career start to lose for the ninth time in 13 games.

Young gave up five runs in five innings in his major league
debut on Monday, a 9-6 loss to the New York Mets, but had better command of his pitches this time. He gave up three runs and seven
hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Young was good enough to get the win, but the Rockies had two
errors that led to runs, allowed the runners to advance when
Wilkerson was caught off third and failed to score in the seventh
with a runner on third and one out.

"We lose today because we didn't execute,'' Rockies manager
Clint Hurdle said. "In crunch time, times when we needed to make
the plays on the bases, in the field, bunt plays, rundowns, we were
poor. That's why we lost the game.''

Luis Ayala (4-1) worked two scoreless innings for his second win
in as many days and Rocky Biddle allowed one hit in the 10th for
his 12th save in 13 chances.

Stynes' homer, his fourth, was the first by a Rockies player
other than Preston Wilson in 16 games.

Montreal's Vladimir Guerrero knocked in the game's first run
with a single in the third inning. Wilkerson followed with a
sacrifice fly to center to make it 2-0.

Colorado got its first run in fourth inning on a sacrifice fly
by Charles Johnson, but Montreal answered with a run in the fifth
on a double-play ball by Jose Vidro.

Game notes
Former Baltimore Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr. threw out the
first pitch, a strike to Rockies 3B Greg Norton. ... Colorado RF
Larry Walker, who's hitting just .256, didn't play after receiving
an injected in his left shoulder. ... Cabrera was caught stealing
for the first time in 24 attempts, dating to last season, when
Johnson threw him out at second in the first inning. ... Montreal
3B Fernando Tatis left in the middle of the fifth inning after
straining his left groin.