At issue was a 2-and-2 pitch to Scott Rolen with the bases loaded and none out in the fifth inning of a 1-1 game.
Rolen checked his swing on the inside fastball from Mike Pelfrey but plate umpire Jerry Meals ruled the ball had ticked the bat for a foul tip. Because Rod Barajas caught the ball, Meals called Rolen out on a strikeout.
Rolen, however, started for first base, believing the ball had hit him in the arm. He was about a third of the way when he realized he had been called out. Rolen protested, saying, "It hit my arm," and Reds manager Dusty Baker came out to argue.
The umpires decided to huddle to the right of the pitcher's mound. After a few minutes of debate, they overruled the call - second-base umpire Dan Iassogna said he saw the ball hit Rolen - and Rolen went to first base with a hit-by-pitch that gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.
"I don't know if it hit my forearm, my jersey, something, but . . . I knew something wasn't right," Rolen said. "People weren't advancing, so I thought maybe he said I swung, I wasn't sure."
Said Pelfrey: "He might have a good acting career when he's done playing. That's terrible."
The Mets went ballistic. Barajas ran from the mound to near home plate and charged at the umpires before being restrained. Manager Jerry Manuel yelled and pointed and gestured before being ejected as the crowd chanted "Jerry! Jerry!" in true "Jerry Springer Show" fashion.
"The guy told me that he saw the ball hit the batter," Manuel said. "Which from that angle, I refuse to believe . . . I don't know if you can make it right by saying you saw something that maybe you didn't see. From the replay, I don't know if you can still tell. Whatever."
Said crew chief Dale Scott: "[Meals] came up immediately. His first inclination was a foul tip. But he had some doubts and wasn't quite sure. He knew it hit something. He wasn't quite sure. And as we try to do getting plays right as best we can, we consult as a group. And that's what we did; we got together and we all talked about what we saw, and as a crew we felt that the ball did hit Rolen, and that it was not a swing. And thus we flipped the call."
When play resumed, the Reds still had the bases loaded and none out. Pelfrey retired Jonny Gomes on a looper to short and struck out Jay Bruce. If the original call on Rolen had stood, the inning would have been over (if the same things had happened after the call, of course).
Unfortunately for the Mets, the inning continued. Drew Stubbs lined a two-run single to left to make it 4-1. Corky Miller laced a two-run double down the rightfield line to make it 6-1. Pitcher Travis Wood tripled over the head of Angel Pagan for the sixth run of the inning and a 7-1 Cincinnati lead. "I thought, for the first time in over a year, I let my emotions get the best of me," Pelfrey said. "That wasn't very good on my part."
Pelfrey (10-3), denied an All-Star spot Sunday, had his second straight poor outing. He was charged with seven runs and nine hits in 42/3 innings. In his previous start, he gave up 12 hits and four runs in 42/3 innings in a no-decision against the Marlins.
Trailing 7-1, the Mets scored five times in the bottom of the fifth. Pagan led off the inning with a home run inside the leftfield foul pole, his fifth of the season. Ike Davis and Barajas also had RBIs in the inning before Alex Cora ripped a two-out, two-run double off reliever Jordan Smith to make the score 7-6.
With Cody Derespina and Tony Olivero
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