Royals unable to reap benefits of challenge
Elation turns to confusion as Moustakas ejected, Ciriaco doubled off
KANSAS CITY -- Talk about a strange ninth inning.
An umpire's call was overturned via a challenge, a Royals player was ejected for applauding, and the game ended on a "snow cone."
It all happened in the closing moments of Wednesday night's 5-4 Interleague victory by the Dodgers over the Royals.
Maybe Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson, with his outlandish black beard and haircut, set the bizarre tone. He took the save situation because regular closer Kenley Jansen had pitched in four of the Dodgers' previous five games.
After Wilson threw a third strike past Jarrod Dyson, Danny Valencia singled to right field in his first at-bat. Pedro Ciriaco pinch-ran for Valencia with Lorenzo Cain at the plate.
Ciriaco took off for second base and, head-first, slid through the legs of shortstop Miguel Rojas as Rojas took catcher A.J. Ellis' throw. Umpire Mike Estabrook called Ciriaco out, and Royals manager Ned Yost challenged the call.
While the umpires waited for word on the instant replay review from New York, the play was shown on the Kauffman Stadium video board, and it appeared that Ciriaco was safe. Inside the dugout, Mike Moustakas applauded -- and was ejected by home-plate umpire Brian Knight.
"For clapping when he saw the replay and realized [Ciriaco] was safe," Yost said. "I'm not kidding. He [the umpire] thought they were mocking him. Maybe you think that the fact he realized, by the replay, that we now have the tying run on second base and he might be a little excited?"
Moustakas, who started the game and had been taken out for a pinch-hitter, was startled.
"It was so irrelevant to the game, so it doesn't really matter. I really don't want to talk about it," he said. "Nothing came from it; I was already out of the game. It was definitely interesting."
As for the call, the replay officials agreed with Yost. Ciriaco was safe with a stolen base and took a lead off second base, still with one out.
Cain lined Wilson's 3-2 pitch toward right field -- and first baseman Scott Van Slyke reached up and made the grab, barely.
"He hit it right to me, and I didn't have time to decide whether it would take off or it was topped," Van Slyke said. "I just snow-coned it."
"I thought it was a hit but he pulled a snow-cone job on it," Cain said.
Ciriaco, intent on scoring the tying run, was headed toward third.
"That's a tough play right there," Yost said. "The rule is always you freeze on a line drive, but the situation and he was amped up to score the tying run, he just got too far off."
Van Slyke threw the ball to Rojas at second base, and Ciriaco was an easy out for a double play. Game over.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.