In the moments after a 5-4 loss in 10 innings Saturday, Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain sought to vent.
His audience was a collection of teammates inside the visitors clubhouse at Dodger Stadium. His displeasure was directed at home-plate umpire Bill Miller, who had offered an ejection after a questionable strike-three call in the top of the seventh inning.
The controversial call came on a 2-2 fastball from Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh. The pitch appeared two inches outside. Miller called strike three.
Cain returned to the clubhouse and inspected the video of the pitch before coming back out for the bottom of the seventh. As he returned to the field, he told Miller the call was wrong.
“I just told him the ball was outside,” Cain said. “He just kind of looked at me, threw his hands up, saying he had it as a strike. I just told him: ‘I looked at the video. It was clearly a ball.’ He just kind of threw his hands up, then he threw me out.”
When Eric Hosmer hit a soft grounder to first, the inning ended with the game still tied at 3-3.
As he spoke to reporters, the normally jubilant Cain appeared most irritated by Miller’s inability to concede that the call may have been missed.
“I had a few words with him,” Cain said. “I just went up to him, let him know how I felt. I just told him: ‘Why can’t you just admit you missed the call?’ He just kept saying: ‘I had it as a strike.’ I mean, whatever. What can you do about it?”
The Royals went on to take a 4-3 lead on Salvador Perez’s homer in the eighth before reliever Joakim Soria allowed a game-tying homer by Cody Bellinger in the bottom half of the inning. The bullpen issued four walks in the 10th, forcing in the winning run.
“It was a huge situation,” Cain said of the seventh. “That guy is throwing 97 up there. … To get a call like that is very frustrating. That could have been the difference in the win or the loss.”