It was a tough way for the Milwaukee Brewers to have their nine-game winning streak come to an end.
With the tying run on second base and two outs, Brewers first baseman Martin Maldonado fouled a pitch that hit off the dirt and bounced up and hit him in the shoulder. Home plate umpire Paul Emmel ruled Maldonado was out of the batters’ box when the ball hit him, ending the game and giving San Diego a 2-1 victory.
In order for a batter to be ruled out on such a play, he must be hit by the ball with both feet out of the box. Replays showed Maldonado’s second foot was still in the box when the ball hit his shoulder.
“He said he was out of the box,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of the explanation he got from Emmel.
Roenicke came out to argue the call, but Emmel was adamant about his decision and didn’t ask for any help from his partners.
“To end the game you better know darn well he’s out of the box,” Roenicke said. “You could see the ball is coming off his shoulder as Maldy’s taking a step to first base. He’s definitely not out of the box.”
The umpiring crew of Emmel, Clint Fagan, Bruce Dreckman and Gary Darling was heavily scrutinized by both teams all series long. Roenicke was ejected by Dreckman on Tuesday for arguing a check swing call that Roenicke later said Dreckman flat out missed.
Correct call or not, on Wednesday the Brewers lost for the first time since April 13 because they struggled to hit Padres right-hander Edinson Volquez and gave San Diego an unearned run that proved to be the difference.
The little things aided Milwaukee on the streak, but its failure to execute wasted another strong pitching performance and prevented the run from reaching 10.
“We haven’t swung the bat that great during this,” Roenicke said. “I thought we swung it really well against the Giants. We’ve been scoring early and then not doing a lot. We’ll pick it up and see if we can get our offense to start creating more pressure on the pitcher.”