06/26/12 1:30 AM ET
Misunderstanding leads to lineup snafu in Miami
Umpire indicates fifth hitter instead of '5' on diamond; Craig removed in ninth
By David Villavicencio / Special to MLB.com
It all started with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
With the game tied at 6, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny put Tyler Greene at second, moving Daniel Descalso to third and removing David Freese. Right-hander Victor Marte replaced lefty Sam Freeman, and Matheny wanted Marte to bat seventh in Freese's spot in the lineup.
That is when the confusion began.
Home-plate umpire Bob Davidson seemed to have heard Matheny say that he wanted Marte batting fifth, and he relayed the double-switch information to the Marlins with the pitcher batting fifth.
"What was explained to me was that the five-hole was what was said," Matheny said. "The way it went down was I wrote it on the card for Freese, and at some point, the five-hole came up and the five-batter's spot in the five-hole.
"The only thing that I can say is that [Davidson] has been doing this a whole lot longer than I have. I don't have any doubt that he's got no reason to change anything, and apparently something was said about the five-spot. I don't remember that because -- it wasn't his job to watch me write it down as I said we're going in for Freese. I think the only confusion may have been going in for Freese's spot, and at some point five did come up. An absolute mess."
Miami manager Ozzie Guillen then came out to argue that his lineup card indicated that Freese -- who was playing at the five spot on the diamond -- should have still been in the game, and Allen Craig -- who was batting in the fifth spot in the order -- was the player who was taken out of the game.
"They got confused and the umpire got confused and they screwed up the lineup," Guillen said. "I don't even know what was happening. I just know they were making a lot of changes."
The umpires discussed the situation and determined that Craig needed to leave the game because he was the fifth batter, and that is where Marte belonged in the batting order according to Davidson's lineup card. Tony Cruz entered the game to play first base and bat seventh, emptying the Cardinals' bench of position players.
"I don't know where it got switched to five, I just don't know," Matheny said. "It was already written down. I took some advice from managers who had been around a long time, to write it right in front of them, so I write Marte in the seven-hole and then start explaining the other moves, and at some point five came up. Once again, I'm not going to question. If that's what he heard, then that's what he heard and I screwed up."
The confusion was a factor in the outcome of the game, as pitcher Joe Kelly was forced to pinch-hit for Marte in the 10th. Kelly collected his first Major League hit and RBI on an infield single that drove in what proved to be the deciding run.
David Villavicencio is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.