Yadier Molina’s game-ending hit left Cincinnati seeing red Thursday.
Molina’s two-out double to left in the ninth inning against Blake Wood scored Matt Carpenter and gave the St. Louis Cardinals a 4-3 victory over the Reds.
Replays showed Molina’s ball bounced off the signage beyond the outfield wall, which should have been a ground-rule double.
But because the Reds did not immediately appeal the play, the run counted and the Cardinals took to following the results of the Colorado at San Francisco game, which was won the host Giants 7-2.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
San Francisco leads the Cardinals by one game in the race for the second National League wild-card spot. Both teams have three games remaining.
After Molina’s hit, the Cardinals celebrated on the field. Reds players, meanwhile, walked slowly toward the dugout, but remained on the field believing there might be an appeal.
The umpires, however, were gone. When Reds manager Bryan Price caught up with the umpires below the stands, he reportedly was told the game was over.
Umpire crew chief Bill Miller, who was behind home plate for the game, said challenge rules regarding end-of-game plays are different from those during the course of a game.
Earlier in games, managers have 10 seconds to tell the umpires they are checking video of a call, and 30 seconds to determine whether they will make a challenge.
“End of game, it’s immediate,” Miller said. “There is not a 10-second, 30-second (limit). It (has to be) an immediate challenge.”
Because of the crowd noise, Price said the Reds were unable to hear the telephone ring in the dugout from their review team.
“There was no siren or blinking light to let you know, so the umpires give our team 10 seconds at the culmination of the play,” said Price, contradicting Miller’s explanation. “I mean, 10 seconds to decide if you want to challenge it or not.
“Well, you had four umpires on the field that didn’t see it hit the back fence. How are we, below field level, supposed to see where the ball hit against the wall? In 10 seconds, how are we supposed to define (that) in 10 seconds?”
Price said it was chaotic in the moments after Carpenter scored.
“You couldn’t hear anything, and then all the sudden someone was screaming, ‘The ball hit the top of the back wall,’ which would have made it a ground-rule double,” Price said. “By this time the umpires were off the field because I guess they say they waited 10 seconds, and then I chased them down and by that time they refused to come back out because they’re upholding a rule that’s in place.
“It’s a terrible rule.”
Cincinnati is not expected to protest, although it has until noon Friday to make that decision.
“I didn’t know what happened,” Molina said. “I came inside and (people) were saying it was a ground-rule double, but I didn’t know what happened in the moment.”
Molina also homered against Dan Straily in the fifth to give St. Louis a 3-1 lead. Molina’s brother, Bengie, made the home-run call in the Cardinals’ first Spanish-language broadcast.
Molina gestured toward Bengie as he approached home plate.
“I can’t wait to listen to that,” Molina said of his brother’s description of the home run. “That will be awesome. I’m happy for him.
“I haven’t seen Bengie in a while, so I’m happy to hit that homer for him.”
Almost as happy as Bengie, who at 42 is eight years older than Yadier.
“It was so cool,” said Bengie Molina, a former catcher who played 13 years in the big leagues. “It was probably one of the top-three moments of my life. It was amazing. He has to be so excited. It was such a special moment, not only for me, of course, but for him.”
Cincinnati got within 3-2 in the eighth and tied the game in the ninth against Seung Hwan Oh.
Randal Grichuk misjudged Ramon Cabrera’s drive to center that went for a double. Two outs later, Cabrera scored on pinch-hitter Scott Schebler’s swinging bunt between home and third.
Carpenter walked with one out in the ninth, and after Grichuk struck out, Molina came through.
Jedd Gyorko’s homer against Dan Straily traveled 456 feet and tied the game at 1 in the second. Pitcher Alex Reyes’ infield out put the Cardinals ahead 2-1 in the fourth. Reyes did not receive a decision, but allowed just one run in six innings, walked two and struck out six.
Cardinals 4, Reds 3
Yadier Molina hit a two-out double in the ninth inning that scored Matt Carpenter and gave the Cardinals a split in the four-game series with the Reds.
By the numbers
Alex Reyes pitched six innings, allowing one run on seven hits, with two walks and six strikeouts. ... The Cardinals, pending the result of the San Francisco Giants late game against Colorado, pulled within one-half game of the Giants for the second NL wild-card spot. ... Molina homered in the fifth, giving him 700 career RBIs. ... Seung Hwan Oh (6-3) was winning pitcher despite blowing a save chance in the ninth. ... Jhonny Peralta extended his hitting streak to seven games.
vs. Pittsburgh, Carlos Martinez (15-9, 3.15 ERA) vs. Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 4.91 ERA), 7:15 p.m. Friday