The St. Louis Cardinals pulled within a half-game of the San Francisco Giants for the last playoff spot in the National League with a win over the Cincinnati Reds that ended in controversial fashion.
With two outs in the ninth inning, a runner on first base, and the score tied 3-3, Yadier Molina hit long drive to left field. The umpires ruled that the ball bounced off the wall and Matt Carpenter scored from first base for the walk-off win, or so it seemed.
Watching it live, it seemed pretty clear that the ball bounced over the wall, hit an advertising sign behind the wall, and then bounced back on the field.
It seemed, even to the announcers calling the game live, that the play should have been ruled a ground-rule double. If so, the runner would not score and would instead be sent back to third base.
While everybody waited for the Reds to challenge the call, nothing happened.
“I believe that could be a ground-rule double,” the Reds announcers said. “We have to wait and see. At this point, the umpires have not ruled it a ground-rule double. They’re walking off the field! The Cardinals are as well.”
The Cardinals celebrated and the umpires walked off the field. The Reds were, surprisingly, not going to challenge the call, or so it seemed.
But then, after the umpires had left the field, and more than 30 seconds after the winning run had scored, Reds manager Bryan Price came stumbling out of the dugout.
Price was looking for the umpires to challenge the call. But they had left. So he chased them back into the clubhouse.
Price would later say that he had trouble hearing the phone ring signalling him to challenge the call.
Reds players just milled around on the field, wondering if the game was really over.
But it was too late. Too much time had passed, and once the umpires left the field, the game was officially over.
With just three games to go, the Cardinals just picked up a huge win in the race for the final two playoff spots and they got some help from the umpires who missed a crucial call and from the Reds who were too slow to challenge.
You can see the full play here:
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