MLB issues statement confirming Escobar earned walk before striking out
ST. PETERSBURG -- The umpiring crew initiated a replay challenge to check the count in the fifth inning of the Rays' 7-3 win over the Twins on Tuesday, but still got the call incorrect.
With Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar facing right-hander Samuel Deduno with nobody on and nobody out in the fifth, crew chief Ted Barrett asked to check the count with home-plate umpire Paul Schrieber, who requested a review.
The count was two balls, two strikes, and after the review the count was changed to three balls and two strikes. Deduno then struck out Escobar for the first out of the inning.
But the review didn't notice that the count was already 3-2 when Escobar took Deduno's sixth pitch, which should've been a fourth ball to give Escobar a walk. Instead, after the review, Escobar struck out on what became the seventh pitch of the at-bat on a 4-2 count.
Major League Baseball released a statement after the game confirming that the incorrect call was made, as the umpires ruled the fourth pitch of the at-bat, which deflected off catcher Kurt Suzuki's glove, was a foul ball, even though it never hit Escobar's bat.
"An error was made when replay officials and supervisors mistakenly thought one of the pitches was a foul ball, when it was actually a ball," the statement read.
Deduno said he was confused by the situation, but conceded that the ball never hit Escobar's bat, and that Escobar should have walked on the sixth pitch of the at-bat.
"He didn't foul the ball -- I saw it," Deduno said. "So it worked for me. I think that was ball four."
Rays manager Joe Maddon was also confused by the at-bat, and believed that after the review, Escobar should have either walked, which would have been the correct call, or been ruled to have struck out on the fifth pitch of the at-bat, which was a called strike and came immediately after the pitch that was ruled a ball on the field, but a foul-tip strike from the review crew.
"By reviewing that, it was either he struck out or he walked," Maddon said. "There was no other option. The at-bat could not continue. But the umpire said, 'Full count.'"