BY PETER HAILEY
When Bryce Harper broke one of baseball's unwritten rules last Friday night, Reds first baseman Joey Votto made sure to let him know by confronting him at first base. But when Votto benefitted from seemingly everyone in the ballpark forgetting one of baseball's most basic rules on Sunday afternoon, Harper was kind enough to let Votto reach first without any yelling.
In a bizarre at-bat during the seventh inning of the Nationals game in Cincinnati yesterday, Votto took his base after a 2-2 pitch was called a ball. There's only one problem with that: In Major League Baseball, walks are typically rewarded after -- you, know -- four balls have been thrown, not three.
The umpiring error seemed to have been caused by the stadium scoreboard incorrectly stating the count was full when it was actually 2-2. So when Nats reliever Matt Grace missed low with his offering, no one batted an eyelash when the Reds first baseman dropped his bat and made his way down the line. And yes, in case you're wondering, Votto, who took issue with how long it took Harper to make the same walk after Cincinnati reliever Tony Cingrani plunked him with a fastball in the first game of the series, did so in a brisk jog.
When asked about the incident on Monday, Nats manager Matt Williams said, "You still gotta make your pitch. You still gotta make pitches to get guys out. We're on to today. We can't do anything about it now. All we can do is look at the Blue Jays and try to beat R.A. tonight and go from there."
But shouldn't someone have been aware enough to catch the mistake and make Votto return to home plate to resume the at-bat?
"Well, it didn't get caught. So, what are you going to do? We've got another day."
Overall, the Reds scored six runs in the inning on their way to an 8-2 win as they completed the sweep over Washington. Grace, meanwhile, was sent down to Triple-A Syracuse Monday afternoon. For his sake, hopefully the umpires there will be more attentive to the rules.
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