CINCINNATI -- For a few moments in the seventh inning of St. Louis' 7-6 win on Thursday, it wasn't clear if Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday had a wall-scraper home run or if the Reds had what could have been the defensive play of the year.
It turned out to be neither.
With St. Louis holding a 4-3 lead and Trevor Bell pitching for Cincinnati, runners were on first and second base with no outs. Holliday skied a fly ball to the right-center-field wall where center fielder Billy Hamilton made a leaping catch attempt.
At first glance, it appeared that the ball kissed off Hamilton's glove and into the glove of diving right fielder Jay Bruce, who was backing up on the play in spectacular fashion. At that point, there was confusion on what the call was as both Cardinals runners stopped and the Reds' defense attempted to convert a wild triple play.
"As Jay comes up, Bruce shows that he has the ball, and I think the base coaches have to be at least aware of that note to get a triple play," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "And Kolten [Wong] had already stopped, too, [at second base], which kind of messed with the whole picture of what you saw. Ideally, what you want is to keep running, but you don't want to run into multiple outs either."
Television replays showed that the ball missed Hamilton's glove and hit off the top of the wall.
"I pretty much saw it the way that it was. I saw it hit the wall. It was a confusing play," Holliday said.
After a two-minute and eight-second review, the call was confirmed as a single for Holliday.
"It was not a challenge," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I thought this was a great job by the umpiring crew to decide to review the play before there was ever a challenge."
The complications came when the umpires disagreed on the initial call.
"What ended up happening is, one umpire ruled out and the other one ruled safe," Price said. "There was a little bit of discrepancy there. Gary Cederstrom, the crew chief, decided to review the play without my request, because they wanted to get the call right. What we found was the ball got over Billy's glove, hit the top of the wall and came back in play, and they got the right call."
There was also discussion about where to position the runners. It was decided that the bases would be loaded and no one scored on the hit.
"If the umpire at first would have called out, which may have affected the way our guys ran the bases, we may have had a different discussion," Matheny said. "But he was clear that he called safe."
As it turned out, all three runners scored in the top of the seventh, and the Cardinals emerged with a series victory.