If the St. Louis Cardinals get into the post-season, they can thank the umpiring crew at last night's game vs. the Cincinnati Reds.

Here's the scenario:

Cards and Reds are tied 3-3 in the ninth.  Matt Carpenter at first base, two outs.  Yadier Molina at the plate.  Molina hits a shot down to left field that bounces and hits the Missouri Lottery sign back into the field of play.  Carpenter scores.  Game over.  Cardinals win.  Right?

Not according to the ground rules.

That sign is actually above the left field wall and should have been ruled a dead ball, ground rule double.

But that's okay, replay takes care of that, right?

Nope.  Because Reds' manager Bryan Price didn't ask for a review fast enough, according to crew chief Bill Miller.

"In this situation, Bryan Price did not come up on the top step [of the dugout]," crew chief Bill Miller told a pool reporter. "We stayed there. I waited for my partners to come off the field. I looked into the dugout, 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."

Baseball rules state a replay request at the end of the game must come immediately following the play when it is a game-ending play.  None of the umpires saw the ball hit the sign above the wall, according to Miller.  If so, they would have called for a review.

It was a game the Cardinals absolutely had to have, as they stayed one game behind San Francisco for the final wild-card spot in the National League.  The Giants beat the Rockies last night, 7-2 and would have been two games ahead with three to play if not for the result in St. Louis last night.

Umpires want to get it right.  Unless it's ten seconds too late.  In a playoff chase.  In the 159th game of the year.

St. Louis hosts Pittsburgh this weekend, while the Giants are at home against the West Division Champion Dodgers.