WATCH: Cubs' John Lackey ejected during a play, Willson Contreras soon joins him
An awful "ball" call and then RBI single led to the exchanges
The scene: The Cardinals had two runners on with two out in a tie (1-1) game in the top of the fifth. On a 2-2 pitch to Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez, home plate umpire Jordan Baker called it a ball. It was a curveball that wasn't well presented (read: framed) at all by Cubs backstop Willson Contreras, but it was still a strike. Martinez even started to walk toward the dugout, assuming that he had struck out.
Here's the Brooks Baseball plot.
See that lone green square in the middle there? That was the pitch location of what was called a ball. Lackey's wife shows us the MLB Gameday view as well:
On the next pitch, Martinez singled home Kolten Wong to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. As Lackey was running back to conveniently back up home plate for a possible errant throw, he was tossed. Contreras soon joined him.
Credit Javier Baez for likely preventing Contreras from a suspension.
The obvious here is that Baker missed a very pivotal call. Everyone in the ballpark and watching TV who was being honest about it knows as much. In such an important game, one can understand emotions running high from the players, too, but the Cubs losing their entire battery in a close game -- including their cleanup hitter who just returned from injury -- is a tough obstacle to overcome (UPDATE: They dealt with it by scoring seven runs in the sixth inning to take an 8-2 lead).
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