ST. LOUIS -- It was a chase of desperation for Reds manager Bryan Price.Following a controversial 4-3 walk-off loss to the Cardinals on Yadier Molina's RBI double, Price hustled through the exiting crowd of fans behind home plate to get to the umpires before they reached their locker room. He
ST. LOUIS -- It was a chase of desperation for Reds manager Bryan Price.
Following a controversial 4-3 walk-off loss to the Cardinals on Yadier Molina's RBI double, Price hustled through the exiting crowd of fans behind home plate to get to the umpires before they reached their locker room. He got to them, but he was too late in his efforts to change the outcome.
"We engaged more than that, but I talked to Bill Miller, the crew chief, and he said, 'Bryan, you have 10 seconds to make that call,'" Price said. "'I gave you 10 seconds, nobody did anything, we went in.' I'm going, '10 seconds isn't enough in that situation.'"
It turned out that according to the rules, Price needed to immediately notify the umpires that he wanted a possible review. And that's where things got complicated.
Molina's drive to left field bounced once on the warning track and hit the signage above and behind the fence. Adam Duvall played the carom and threw to cutoff man José Peraza, whose throw home was not in time to get Matt Carpenter as he scored from first base.
The crowd of 30,830 at Busch Stadium roared and celebrated with the Cardinals, who needed the victory to help them remain in the National League Wild Card race. Fireworks were shot off, adding to the noise.
The Reds' video personnel in the clubhouse were desperately trying to call the dugout and alert Price to a challenge, but nobody heard the phone ringing amid the celebrations.
The signage is considered out of play, and the ground rules at Busch Stadium stipulate that Molina's hit should have been a ground-rule double that would have held Carpenter at third base. Someone ran from the clubhouse to tell Price in the dugout what happened, but it was too late.
"How are we supposed to know what happened 350 feet away? How are we supposed to know where that ball hit? You can't hear the phone," Price said. "There's no siren, there's no something that's going to alert you. There's a ring that you would hear if there's no fan noise in the stadium. The place is too far away. You've got an umpire who is running down the line, the third-base umpire has the clearest view, and even he didn't see it. How are we supposed to see it from the dugout? It's a bad play."
Price did not like how the game ended, especially a game that carried playoff implications.
"It could not have been any louder than it was tonight, and then [in] 10 seconds we couldn't make a call, and off we go," he said. "They're going to say, 'He could have called timeout and say just wait for a second.' There was nothing to indicate that we're supposed to see that ball hit off the wall to know if that ball is in play or not. ... It's just a terrible way to lose a game, especially one that was as well played as these two teams played tonight."
Under Rule 7.04, the Reds have until 12 p.m. ET on Friday to file a protest with the league office. Price and Walt Jocketty, the Reds' president of baseball operations, indicated they likely would not protest. Jocketty has been in contact with umpire supervisor Randy Marsh for clarification on the rules, however.
"We didn't get it right tonight. It may have cost us a game," Price said. "It may have cost the Giants a better situation for the postseason, not that I'm pulling for anybody. It can't be the intent of the rule -- 'Let's get it done as soon as possible.' That should have been a game situation where the umpire said, 'We'll come back out on the field and we'll take a look at it so we get it right.' That is not a requirement of the umpires to do. So they're not at fault here. But the rule itself is a bad one, and it needs to change."
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.