MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers were crying foul on Tuesday after losing a replay challenge they were sure they would win.
"We got bad calls," said manager Ron Roenicke, whose ire was softened by the fact that his team defeated the Reds, 4-3, on Jonathan Lucroy's home run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The play in question happened in the top of the seventh inning with the Brewers leading, 3-1, after earlier home runs by Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Lucroy. Young right-hander Jimmy Nelson, seemingly on the way to the best of his four Major League starts, surrendered successive singles to start the inning before the Brewers brought their corner infielders in against Zack Cozart, expecting a bunt.
And square to bunt he did, several times, before a 3-1 sinker ran high and inside and caused him to recoil in pain while grabbing his right hand. Home-plate umpire Brian Gorman ruled that Cozart was hit by the pitch, and with Cozart still down on a knee getting attention from a trainer, Roenicke first asked Gorman to appeal to first-base umpire Chris Segal for a ruling on whether Cozart offered at the pitch.
Segal ruled that Cozart did not, and that part of the play is not reviewable under the new rules. But Roenicke was able to challenge the hit by pitch, arguing that the ball struck the bat first and should be called foul.
The slow-motion replay aired several times on the giant video board at Miller Park, and the fans rendered their verdict by cheering loudly each time. But Gorman returned with a call they didn't expect -- hit by pitch.
"Then we get a bad call by the umpires. That's all there was to it. That's a bad call," Roenicke said. "For one, [Cozart] bunted after the ball, so the guy at first base messed it up. And then, I don't know what New York's looking at -- the ball hit off the bat and then hit his hand."
It got worse. Cozart's taking first loaded the bases for Ramon Santiago, who was hit on the right foot by a Nelson pitch, forcing home a run. That prompted a call for reliever Brandon Kintzler, who was greeted by pinch-hitter Chris Heisey's game-tying sacrifice fly.
Lucroy, who was behind the plate, was diplomatic.
"I saw on the big screen and the super-slo-mo, and it looked like it got the bat and then the finger," Lucroy said. "That's what it looked like to me. ... If it hits the bat and then his hand, that's a foul ball. Obviously, it's one of those things. It's not up to you to make those decisions; they made the decision, and we have to live with it. But it ended up working out, so it's OK.
"They could have seen something up close -- they have the ability to zoom in on super-slo-mo -- so they could have seen something that we on the field didn't. It's something you really can't control, so you have to let them make the best judgment call they can, and hopefully, they get it right."
X-rays taken of Cozart's hand were negative, and he is considered day to day.
Cozart said definitively that the baseball did not hit his bat but that at the time he wasn't sure whether the umpires would rule that he offered at the pitch.
"To be honest, that's one reason I didn't even go to first base, because I didn't know," Cozart said. "It was almost like self-defense trying to get out of the way. I didn't really know what happened besides that I got hit on the hand. It didn't hit the bat. ... They can't challenge the check swing, I understand. It hit me pretty square on the hand. It was pretty easy to see."
Per a Brewers spokesperson, the umpires were not available to comment about instant replay.
After winning five challenges in a row, Roenicke has lost two in this series.