(Busch Stadium) On a night when his big brother was in the radio booth for the first-ever Spanish broadcast of a St. Louis Cardinals game, Yadier Molina provided not one but two magical moments for a 4-3 walk-off victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
“I can’t wait to listen to that–it will be awesome,” smiled Molina, who pointed up to Bengie as he circled the bases on a solo home run in the 5th inning. He then followed that up in walk-off fashion to end the game.
With two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning and Matt Carpenter at first base, Yadi sent a line drive into left field that bounced off the signage above the green wall and back into play. Third base umpire Scott Barry stretched out his arms with a safe call as Carpenter raced around the bases with the winning run and the dugout emptied onto the field to mob Molina.
But as the Cardinals celebrated, the Reds stayed on the field. Not the umpires, who disappeared up the tunnel.
“I didn’t know what happened,” said Molina. “I came inside and they were saying it was a ground rule double, but I didn’t know what happened at the moment.”
“The only thing I know is in the rule book, on a play that ends the game there has to be an immediate appeal,” offered Mike Matheny, who was not in doubt of the victory. “Immediate protest, immediate challenge if there’s anything to end the game. That’s in the rules.”
Indeed umpires cited rule II-D3 of the Replay Review, which calls for a manager to make it clear they wish to review immediately at the conclusion of a game.
“End of game it’s immediate,” umpire crew chief Bill Miller told pool reporter Derrick Goold, after he had been in contact with MLB for their interpretation of the rule. “There is not a 10 second, 30 second (limit). They have told me it is immediate. It is an immediate challenge.”
“In this situation Bryan Price did not come up on the top step,” furthered Miller. “We stayed there. I waited for my partners to come off the field. I looked into the dugout, the Cincinnati dugout, and Bryan Price made no eye contact with me whatsoever, and then after 30 seconds he finally realized, somebody must have told him what had happened, and we were walking off the field.”
Price cited the noise of the crowd drowned out the dugout phone ringing from the Cincinnati video replay official and upon realization of the need for review, chased the umpires down the tunnel.
For the record, the umpires reviewed the play afterwards and agreed that the ball did hit the signage above the wall–which should’ve resulted in a ground rule double.
But Matt Carpenter’s run counts. And so does the St. Louis Cardinals victory, which keeps them in the NL Wild Card chase.
“It’s been like that all season, ups and downs,” said Molina. “Tonight was no exception. We got the lead we wanted, they came back–we have to give them some credit to come back on the closer. But at the end, we put some good at-bats at the end. I’m glad we got the win.
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI