WASHINGTON -- Manager Craig Counsell took the blame for a snafu usually reserved for recreational leagues, when the Brewers batted out of turn in the first inning of their otherwise crisp 1-0 win over the Nationals on Monday.
The Brewers became the first big league team in nearly three years to be penalized for sending the wrong man to the plate, the result of an incorrect lineup card that had Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy listed in the wrong spots. It cost Braun a base hit and gave Lucroy an 0-for-1 start to his day, even though he'd never made it past the on-deck circle.
"I screwed up," Counsell said. "I was going with some different lineups -- with Ryan in and out of the lineup -- and it was just my mistake. It was just a screw-up, completely my mistake. I gave Joe [Crawford, the Brewers' assistant coach and video coordinator] a couple lineups, and my mistake."
Braun has sat out some day games this season to protect his surgically-repaired back, with Lucroy often sliding up to the three-hole. But on Monday, both players were on the official lineup card printed and exchanged with the Nationals before the game. Lucroy was listed third and Braun fourth.
Meanwhile, on the wall in the clubhouse, the unofficial lineup had the usual alignment: Braun third and Lucroy fourth.
After Braun smacked a single to center field off Nationals starter Max Scherzer, Washington manager Dusty Baker immediately emerged for a discussion with the umpires, who called Braun out. Lucroy was charged with an out, credited unassisted to the catcher.
Braun batted again leading off the second inning and grounded out. The two combined to go 0-for-8, with three strikeouts.
"I've been a victim of that a couple times on the manager side and once on a hitter side," Baker said.
"When I went up for my first at-bat [in the first], I looked at the lineup and I saw Lucroy was before [Braun], so I was kind of started laughing," said Nationals outfielder Ben Revere. "I actually have seen that before. Kind of like T-ball -- make sure you see the lineup before you go up there."
Lucroy declined to address the snafu, saying he was just happy the Brewers won the game. Braun said it had never happened to him at any level.
"It's a lot easier now, looking back, because we won a game," Braun said. "But against Max Scherzer, you know you're not going to get too many opportunities to have baserunners, so it was a challenging way to start the day."
According to a database at Retrosheet.org, the Brewers were the first team to bat out of order since 2013, when the Rangers did so following a flurry of personnel changes in a game against the A's. The last instance of a team batting out of order to start a game was earlier that same season, when the Giants did it against the Dodgers.
The Brewers last batted out of order in the final game before the 1996 All-Star break, when Matt Mieske accidentally hit in Jose Valentin's place.
There have been close calls, too. In 2003, Bill Hall took Ball 1 in the second inning against the Cubs, before the Brewers realized it was Keith Osik's turn to bat. Osik took over and struck out, then Hall returned to the plate and popped out to end the inning.
Even Hall of Famers can fall prey to lineup snafus. In 1988, Brewers manager Tom Trebelhorn listed Robin Yount's name twice, batting third as the center fielder and fifth as the designated hitter. Tigers manager Sparky Anderson protested twice, both when Yount batted in the second inning, and again when Yount returned to center field to start the third. Yount was forced to leave the game, an incorrect decision the league office had to clarify the next day.
On Monday, Counsell knew just now Trebelhorn felt.
"I screwed up. It's not something that makes you feel very good, that's for sure," Counsell said. "But the guys certainly picked me up."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.