ST. LOUIS — In a season full of losses, the Cincinnati Reds found a new way to fall.
The last-place Reds lost to St. Louis 4-3 Thursday night on an RBI double by Yadier Molina with two outs on the ninth inning.
Too bad for the Reds, it should’ve been a ground-rule double — instead, the ball was ruled in play and Matt Carpenter scored all the way from first base.
Carpenter drew a one-out walk from Blake Wood (6-5). With two outs, Molina’s one-hop hit clearly bounced off a sign above the left-field wall and caromed back into play.
Reds left fielder Adam Duvall said the ball “definitely hit the sign.”
“I saw it. I heard it. There’s a gap in between the sign and the fence. I wasn’t sure if it was in play or not,” he said.
Reds manager Bryan Price ran after the umpires to argue. He said he was later told he had 10 seconds after Carpenter scored to appeal for a replay.
“It’s a terrible rule,” Price said. “I mean that’s ridiculous.”
The Cardinals hurried their on-field party and zipped to the clubhouse while the Reds milled around on the field waiting for something to happen.
Crew chief and plate umpire Bill Miller said he felt he gave the Reds enough time to ask for a replay.
“In this situation, Bryan Price did not come up to the top step,” Miller told a pool reporter. “I looked into the Cincinnati dugout and Bryan Price made no eye contact with me whatsoever. And then after 30 seconds, he finally realized somebody must have told him what had happened and we were walking off the field.”
St. Louis is one game behind San Francisco for the second NL wild-card spot.
Seung Hwan Oh (6-3) wound up with the win after blowing his third save in 21 tries this season.
Cincinnati scored single runs in the eighth and ninth. Pinch hitter Scott Schebler had a two-out, two-strike infield single to make it 3-all.
Cincinnati closed to within 3-2 in the eighth on a double by Joey Votto and an RBI single by Duvall.
Votto, who had three hits, left the game after suffering a cut to his chin while sliding into second base. He took seven stitches.
The Reds have scored first in their last seven games.
Reds: INF Brandon Phillips was held out of the lineup for the second successive game with a sore left hand hurt on a swing Monday night.
Reds: RHP Josh Smith (3-2, 4.77) will face the Chicago Cubs in the opener of a three-game series in Cincinnati on Friday. He will be making his second start of the season and 32nd. appearance.