The St. Louis Cardinals’ tough season didn’t get any help from a plate umpire Friday.
With the bases loaded and one out in a run against the Chicago Cubs, Alec Burleson was called up to pinch hit.
Michael Fulmer threw six straight pitches out of the zone to Burleson, but only the first three were called balls.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM
Burleson faced a 3-0 count, needing just one more shot out of the zone to tie the game.
Fulmer’s next pitch was a 91 mph sinker that narrowly missed the outside corner, but was called a strike. And the next release was not close.
Fulmer then fired an 87 mph cutter that Burleson thought was ball four, but umpire Ron Kulpa ruled it a strike, prompting a full count and some talking from Burleson.
With the strike zone expanded several inches now, Fulmer threw a curveball low and far, and one can’t blame Burleson for fanning it given the previous two calls.
MARLINS THIRD BASE COACH BROKES FOOT AFTER BEING HIT BY FOUL BALL
Burleson made soft contact with shortstop Nico Hoerner, who turned a 6-6-3 double play.
Burleson was not happy.
Almost immediately after the inning ended, Burleson was yelling at Kulpa from well beyond first base, prompting an ejection.
«At 3-0, I thought he was borderline, and I asked him if it was a corner, and he said ‘Yeah, that’s the corner.’ To me, that means you won’t go any further (out) than that. And then (strike two). So, that forced me to swing 3-2,» Burleson said after the game. via MLB.com.
The Cubs defense buckled in the top of the ninth, coming out of a first-and-second jam for a 4-3 victory.
With the loss, St. Louis fell to 44-54 after being favored in spring training to win the NL Central for the second straight year.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The Cubs improved to 46-51.