The St. Louis Cardinals got a much-needed win over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night in St. Louis, but their walk-off win was aided by a blown call and an odd challenge rule that gave little chance for umpires to get the call right.
The scene was this: tied 2-2 in the ninth inning with two outs and Matt Carpenter on first base, catcher Yadier Molina hit a double to left field, scoring Carpenter from first base with the winning run.
With the win, the Cardinals (83-76) pulled to within a half-game of the San Francisco Giants (83-75) for the second National League Wild Card spot. The Giants are playing at home Thursday night against the Colorado Rockies.
But that double off the wall by Molina wasn’t actually off the wall. It hit the MOLottery.com sign above and behind the wall and should have been a ground rule double, which would have, at least temporarily, kept Carpenter at third base in a tie game.
The umpires left the field, and the game was over without a protest from the Reds. But it wasn’t for lack of trying by manager Bryan Price.
walt jocketty, who was GM of Cards when this place opened, said there’s no question the sign is out of play— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) September 30, 2016
Price: “I talked with (home plate umpire) Bill Miller . . . He said, ‘I gave you 10 seconds. Nobody did anything. We went in.’”— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) September 30, 2016
The idea that a call for review has to be immediate seems ridiculous when during the game there is time allotted for questionable plays for a team’s video review coordinator to review the play to see whether the team wants to challenge.
The umpires for their part seem to realize, after the fact, they got the call wrong.
Umpire Bill Miller: “We did look at it. It appears that the ball hit above the fence. And hit the signage above the left-field fence.”— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) September 30, 2016
From @dgoold: Reds have until noon on Friday to protest— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) September 30, 2016
Price called the replay rule “ridiculous”:
More Bryan Price: "Game-ending play, you have a 10-second limit? It's ludicrous." pic.twitter.com/a1fRVy5Cuj— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) September 30, 2016
Should the Cardinals beat out the Giants, or Mets, by a game for one of the Wild Card spots, or if this allows St. Louis into some sort of a tiebreaker, this call will be remembered for a long time.