Cardinals’ playoff effort gets a boost when umpires refuse to review controversial game-winning play

St. Louis' Matt Carpenter (13) celebrates with teammate Stephen Piscotty after scoring past Cincinnati catcher Tucker Barnhart in the ninth inning on Thursday.
(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

The St. Louis Cardinals are a game behind San Francisco for the final National League playoff spot with three games to play in. They’re in a pretty tough spot, but it could have been worse.

At the very least, the Cardinals should not have beaten the Cincinnati Reds, 4-3, on Yadier Molina’s two-out double in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday night. The ball bounced in left field and clearly hit a sign beyond the wall before returning to play, which is considered a ground rule double at Busch Stadium.

So rather than scoring the game-winning run from first base, Matt Carpenter should have been stopped at third and the game would have remained tied.

But that didn’t happen.

According to the league’s replay rules, a team has 10 seconds to decide if it’s going to call for the replay of a game-ending play.

"In this situation, Bryan Price did not come up on the top step [of the dugout]," crew chief Bill Miller said afterward. "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 said: "It's a terrible rule. I mean, that's ridiculous."

In that atmosphere, Price said, it was impossible for the video review crew to alert the dugout of the need to challenge the play in time. “Because of the crowd noise, we couldn't hear the phone ring,” he said. “There was no siren or blinking light to let you know.”

He added: “The San Francisco Giants, I imagine, they are going to be all sorts of upset about this one."

Members of the Giants, however, seemed pretty calm when talking about the situation. Manager Bruce Bochy smiled while saying, “You hate to see that happen in these games. They’re all so critical and important.”

San Francisco outfielder Hunter Pence added: “These things happen.”

Twitter: @chewkiii