05/17/11 11:53 PM ET
Confusion surrounds Cairo's strikeout in sixth
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
In the sixth inning of the Reds' game against the Cubs and Matt Garza, Ramon Hernandez was on first with two outs after a single. Cairo, who was batting for pitcher Edinson Volquez, then struck out to end the inning, or at least Cubs catcher Welington Castillo thought so.
Castillo and the Cubs started toward their dugout. But the pitch apparently bounced into Castillo's glove, or at least home-plate umpire John Hirschbeck said so, and Cairo was safe at first, even though he had left the dirt surrounding home plate and also headed toward the Reds' dugout. It appears someone in the Reds' dugout told Cairo to go to first.
Cairo appeared to have violated Major League Baseball Rule 6.09(b), which states "A batter who does not realize his situation on a third strike not caught, and who is not in the process of running to first base, shall be declared out once he leaves the dirt circle surrounding home plate."
"I hesitated," Garza said. "The umpire never signaled anything. He was just standing there. There's a guy on first and he can't go anywhere. [Cairo] didn't take off -- he was walking off. I thought it was a forfeited at-bat."
But it wasn't. Cairo was allowed to stay at first base and the inning proceeded, with the Cubs getting the last word in as Garza struck out Drew Stubbs to end the inning.
"He missed the call," Cubs manager Mike Quade said of Hirschbeck. "The way I read the rule, out of the batter's box, on the grass. Apparently, he thought he hadn't given it up and was walking on an angle and was on his way to first."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.