8/8/2014 10:25 P.M. ET
Confusion over 'K' benefits Rays at Wrigley Field
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- An odd play took place when the Rays took a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning of Friday afternoon's game against the Cubs.
Ben Zobrist doubled off Pedro Strop with one out before pinch-hitter Kevin Kiermaier struck out but reached first when nobody covered first.
Initially, the play appeared to be a walk, but eventually it was ruled a strikeout and a wild pitch as the ball skipped to catcher John Baker, who caught the ball.
"I still don't know what happened," Kiermaier said. "... I thought I had a good take. And I heard the umpire yell, 'Yeah.' But then I'm running down to first base and nothing's happening. ... So I'm like, 'I walked.' And [Cubs first baseman Anthony] Rizzo comes up to me and says, 'Did he just punch you out?' And I said, 'I don't know, I'm here right now.' So I was like, 'I don't know.'"
The play turned out to be a big one as there would have been three outs when Strop struck out Evan Longoria, who followed Kiermaier. Instead, Longoria's out was the second, which paved the way for pinch-hitter Matt Joyce's single that scored Zobrist for a 3-2 Rays lead.
The Cubs tied the score in the ninth before Kiermaier delivered the winning hit in the 10th for a 4-3 Rays win.
"You know what? Rizz didn't recognize the call on the check swing," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "He recognized the call. He thought it was ball four. So, that's why he didn't go to cover. That's basically what happened in a nutshell. Obviously, [Baker] heard the call and he got up and he was looking over, but [Rizzo] didn't recognize the check-swing called strike. And then later you saw [home-plate umpire Eric Cooper] signal safe, which is when he touched first base."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.