ST. LOUIS -- In a perplexing seventh-inning sequence during Wednesday's 3-0 loss to the Rays, Jon Jay took both ball four and strike three in the same plate appearance.
The confusing sequence happened with two out and Rays starter Alex Cobb nearing the end of his night. The at-bat opened with Jay unhappy about a called first strike, though he eventually worked the count full. Along the way, however, the scoreboard tally omitted one of the balls. That meant that when Cobb threw a fourth pitch out of the zone, the scoreboard had it only marked down as the third.
Jay said he was fairly certain he had drawn the walk, but when he turned to home-plate umpire Dan Bellino to ask for the base, Bellino used the scoreboard reading and told Jay the count was full.
"I don't even know what happened," Jay explained afterward. "I was so focused on the at-bat and trying to get on there. I knew we needed to get a guy on. There's not much you can do about it."
Actually, there could have been.
Umpires can use replay to review the ball-strike count on a batter, though it has to be initiated by the manager. In this case, Mike Matheny did not catch the mistake.
"That's on me," Matheny said. "I didn't bat an eye at it. I missed it."
It was a key part in the game, too, as a walk would have brought the tying run to the plate in what was then a 2-0 game. By the time Matheny was informed of the mistake, the at-bat had already continued. It ended with a strikeout to close the inning.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less