The Milwaukee Brewers got some help from umpire Mike Estabrook during the ninth inning of their 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday. The Phillies had pitcher Kyle Kendrick pinch-running on second with one out and the score 4-3. Second baseman Cesar Hernandez was at the plate with a 1-1 count. Brewers reliever Frankie Rodriguez spun to second on a pickoff play, and his throw and the tag seemed to beat Kendrick. The problem is shortstop Jean Segura clearly dropped the ball, but Estabrook could not see that from his angle. All he saw was a throw beat Kendrick and Segura show him the ball, so he called Kendrick out.
As things usually go, Hernandez doubled for what would have been the tying run. The Brewers then intentionally walked Domonic Brown with two outs and got Michael Martinez to ground out to end the game. They won 4-3.
At least umpire crew chief Tom Hallion admitted they got the call wrong.
“The ball goes in the glove and comes out of the glove with Kendrick diving back in and with Segura diving back for the ball,” Hallion told a pool reporter, per The Associated Press. “Obviously, Mike was in the right position to make a pickoff play call like that. But the way that the play developed, the ball comes free and rolls right in Segura’s bare hand and he comes up shows him the ball.”
Maybe that’s what manager Charlie Manuel gets for pinch running a pitcher in the ninth inning of the game. And at least we can say that Kendrick deserved to be called out for taking such a big lead. But if the play were properly called, he would have been called safe.