Instead of tossing Porcello from the contest, home-plate umpire Paul Schrieber issued warnings to both teams with two outs in the third inning of Cleveland's 8-7 loss to Detroit at Comerica Park. The defeat dropped the Indians 4 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the American League Central standings.
Acta was adamant in his disgust over Schrieber's ruling on the field.
"I thought that was handled very poorly, myself," Acta said. "When that happens in a game, you don't need a warning. You need to throw the guy out of the game. And if you don't throw the guy out of the game, then you should not issue a warning, because then we're not getting our shot."
Porcello and Cabrera do not have any known history beyond Sunday's incident.
On a 1-2 pitch from Porcello, though, Cabrera yanked the ball high in the air toward right field, where it sailed foul beyond the wall down the line. While the baseball was in flight, Cabrera held firm to his bat and stood at the plate watching it carry into foul territory.
One pitch later, Porcello sent a fastball behind Cabrera's back.
Cabrera left the ballpark before he could be approached for comment. Acta said he felt Porcello took exception to how Cabrera watched the ball before it went foul.
"Putting somebody else in jeopardy? For nothing?" Acta said. "The guy was just standing there looking at a foul ball. It was a foul ball. That's all. [Porcello threw at him] because he stood there and watched it. A foul ball."
Cabrera and Porcello exchanged words and Schrieber stepped in front of Cleveland's shortstop in an effort to diffuse the situation. After things died down, first-base umpire Joe West walked down the line and met with Schrieber near home plate. After a brief discussion, Schrieber motioned to both dugouts, issuing official warnings.
Acta was quick to bring up Cleveland's game against Kansas City on July 29, when Indians starter Carlos Carrasco was immediately ejected by home-plate umpire Scott Barry for throwing in the area of Billy Butler's head. Carrasco was later hit with a fine and a six-game suspension from Major League Baseball.
"Carrasco didn't get a warning the other day at home," Acta said. "He got thrown out right away."
Acta also offered some sharp criticism aimed at Porcello.
"That doesn't show me any bravado, either, guys that do that in the American League," Acta said. "All they're doing is putting their team in some jeopardy, because they don't hit. Guys in the National League who hit guys are the guys that show me something, because they have to go up to the plate.
"None of these guys want to fight, because the game has changed so much it's a joke. All you've got to do is watch [batting practice]. They're all hugging and laughing together. Look on the bases how you've got three or four guys talking to each other. So guys that [throw at batters] are just putting their teammates in jeopardy. That's all they're doing."
In continuing his rant, Acta brought up an incident involving Brewers reliever, and former Mets closer, Francisco Rodriguez. In 2009, Rodriguez confronted then-Yankees pitcher Brian Bruney during batting practice before a game between both New York ballclubs. Rodriguez had taken exception to comments made by Bruney.
"You want to know who's tough?" Acta said. "Frankie Rodriguez is tough. He didn't like what some guy [Bruney] did a couple of years ago in New York and he went out at stretch time. Everybody here knows when everybody stretches. Go face the guy face to face.
"Frankie Rodriguez did that. He went right to a guy that didn't like what he said or whatever. That's being tough -- not throwing a ball at a guy and then not even facing the guy [as a hitter]."
During the home half of the third inning on Sunday, Detroit's lineup exploded for seven runs on six hits against Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez. After Delmon Young's three-run homer gave the Tigers a 5-0 advantage, Acta headed out to the mound.
Acta said his intention was to ensure Jimenez had no thoughts of retaliation.
"I went to the mound to make sure he didn't hit anybody," Acta said. "If he hits somebody after there are warnings, then it was going to be a suspension. I need him to pitch. I need him to pitch every five days. There's always a time and a place for everything.
"I wanted to make sure he didn't lose his head and throw at somebody because the game was turning ugly against him."