ST. LOUIS — The frustration boiled over for the Padres as both Manny Machado and manager Bob Melvin were ejected from Tuesday’s game against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in the sixth inning by home plate umpire Chris Segal.
Moments earlier, Machado had been punched out on a called third strike by Segal for the second time in the game to end the inning.
The Padres slugger tossed his equipment in disgust. Segal, after a few words were exchanged, ejected Machado and Melvin soon after.
“It’s really hard to see, you know, in and out from our angle, up and down,” Melvin said when asked if there were two different strike zones. “Chris has always been a really good umpire, just got a little frustrated, and it felt that way. I don’t know what it looked like. I know [Adam] Wainwright was painting for the most part out there, but you know, it just gets emotional at times.”
The pitch itself seemed low and away but appeared to catch the corner on the strike box on the TV feed.
It was the 52nd time Melvin has been ejected in his 19-year managerial career but just his second as the San Diego skipper.
It was a flash point that epitomized a frustrating night for the Padres, who went on to lose 3-2 to the Cardinals in 10 innings, dropping their second straight and clinching just the second series loss on the road this season.
Wainwright allowed just two hits, both Luke Voit singles, in seven innings. The 40-year-old veteran struck out 10, giving him double-digit K’s for the 13th time in his career, and half of those came on called third strikes.
“Going back and looking at some of them though, I mean, he painted tonight,” Melvin said. “I mean, there were a lot of balls right on the line, whether it was down, whether it was side to side. You know you’re trying to get a good pitch to hit off of him, you know you get tired of giving credit to the starting pitcher on the other side, but looking at the pitches that he threw today, there was a lot right on the black.”
Machado wasn’t the only Padre with a problem with Segal’s strike zone. Ha-Seong Kim had words, but didn’t get ejected, after getting punched out looking in the eighth, and Jorge Alfaro also showed some frustration with a slow walk back to the dugout after another called strike three in the 10th.
“Offensively, we haven’t been great,” Melvin said. “We know that … it’s a team game. Everybody has to contribute. The starting pitchers are definitely holding up their end of the bargain. We just need to get going a little bit more offensively.”
Trent Grisham smashed a two-run homer off Giovanny Gallegos in the eighth to tie the game at 2.
The Padres appeared on the cusp of taking the lead in the top of the 10th when Jurickson Profar bounced a single into left field, but Lars Nootbaar made a perfect throw to get José Azocar at the plate to end the threat.
Albert Pujols walked it off in the bottom of the frame with his second sacrifice fly of the game.
“We’ve been on the other side of that too, you know, to come back, and it looked like we weren’t doing much offensively at all and all of a sudden now it’s a 2-2 game, and those are the games we feel like we’re always going to win,” Melvin said.
Emotions were already high after Machado was called out by home plate umpire Lance Barksdale on a controversial catcher’s interference call the day before that short-circuited a possible rally in the Padres’ series-opening 6-3 loss.
Melvin insisted there was no carry over from that game involving the ejections.
“It was about the game tonight,” Melvin said.
Padres starter Blake Snell allowed just a pair of runs on two hits in six innings.
It was the left-hander’s best start since returning from a left adductor strain as he turned in a season high in innings and a season low in runs and hits allowed.
“A lot of stuff I can work on, so I’m excited about that,” Snell said. “A lot of stuff that I liked, I battled. So, definitely look forward to the next one.”