Umpire provides explanation for wild play in Cardinals-Cubs

Sports
Mike Shildt, Doug Eddings

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, right, argues with umpire Doug Eddings during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Chicago, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021. Shildt was ejected by umpire Bill Miller. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO (AP) — Umpire Bill Miller provided an explanation Monday for a wild sequence during St. Louis’ 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs that added another layer of drama to the Cardinals’ 16th straight win.

A request was made for an explanation after Sunday’s game, but a spokesman for the Cubs said it was declined. Miller said there was a miscommunication with the attendant and the request was never relayed to the umpires.

The play occurred after St. Louis reliever Giovanny Gallegos walked pinch-hitter Austin Romine and Rafael Ortega with one out in the ninth.

Frank Schwindel then popped up, and third-base umpire Gabe Morales called him out because of the infield fly rule. But third baseman Nolan Arenado slipped while trying to catch the ball, and the runners took off when it landed in the infield grass.

Arenado threw to shortstop Paul DeJong covering third, and DeJong threw to second for what the Cardinals thought was a game-ending double play. But there is no forceout when the infield fly rule is called.

Ortega walked off second and was tagged by second baseman Tommy Edman, but he was put back on the base.

“They throw the ball to second base and this is where the confusing part comes in,” said Miller, the crew chief who worked the plate on Sunday. “The second-base umpire, Doug Eddings, did not realize an infield fly was called, and so they throw the ball to second base, he called that guy out, Ortega. From first base, he called him out on a force play.

“Ortega thinks he’s out, game’s over, whatever it is, walks off the base. And so now (Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is) yelling at whoever to tag the runner, and so before that runner was tagged, Doug says ‘Timeout, timeout,’ because he knows the runner left the base because he called him out.”

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt then came out on the field to argue and was ejected by Miller.

“Then the argument on Shildt’s part was, he didn’t understand that Doug had called him out on a force play, so he thought Doug called time prematurely so he couldn’t be tagged,” Miller said. “He didn’t realize that he left the base because Doug had called him out.”

Speaking after the win, Shildt called it a matter of timing.

“Timing wasn’t on our side,” Shildt said. “Clearly took exception with it. They were OK with that, for the most part.”

The ruling left the Cubs with runners on second and third with two out. But Gallegos struck out Ian Happ swinging to close out the win.

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Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap

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