Williams, Nats moving past Votto's 3-pitch walk

Reds first baseman mistakenly awarded free pass in Sunday's game

Williams, Nats moving past Votto's 3-pitch walk

WASHINGTON -- When does three equal four? It sounds like the prompt of a corny joke, but the answer for Nationals fans is not funny.

In Washington's 8-2 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon, Reds first baseman Joey Votto walked on six pitches in his seventh-inning at-bat, with the only problem being that only three of the pitches were balls.

When in actuality the count was 2-2, the scoreboard at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati flashed 3-2. So, when the sixth pitch tumbled below the strike zone, Votto jogged to first and no one tried to stop him.

Up above, in the broadcast booth, though, the Nationals radio announcers were on top of it. Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler both keep their own scorebook and document every pitch -- ball, strike, foul -- to track the pitch count and to refer back to if need be.

This was one of those times.

But when no one -- not pitcher Matt Grace, manager Matt Williams or anyone else -- questioned the extra free pass, the thought entered that maybe they were the ones that had it wrong.

"It makes you second-guess yourself," Slowes said.

In fact, they, along with several on Twitter, were correct.

Votto scored two batters later on a Jay Bruce double in the six-run Reds inning.

"Umps don't all use ball-strike clickers or indicators anymore," Slowes said. "This day and age, that should never happen, regardless of if a team catches the mistake."

A day removed from the incident, Williams was ready to move on.

"You've still got to make your pitch," Williams said. "You've still got to make pitches to get guys out. We're on to [Monday]. We can't do anything about it now. All we can do is look at the Blue Jays and try to beat R.A. tonight and go from there."

Of course, the Nationals will have to wait until Tuesday for their chance to beat the Blue Jays and Dickey after Monday's game was postponed by rain.

But, with nine players on the field and several coaches in the dugout, shouldn't someone have caught it, Williams was asked.

"Yeah, well, it didn't get caught," he said. "So, what are you going to do? We've got to [focus on] today."

Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.