ST. LOUIS -- When Daniel Descalso stepped up to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth, the Cardinals' offense was in desperate need of a spark.
Down 3-0 with one out on the board, Descalso worked a 3-2 count with seven pitches, then took issue with the eighth -- a called third strike he thought was outside the strike zone. Descalso argued with home-plate umpire David Rackley, headed to the dugout and briefly returned to the field to protest the call further, and was ejected by Rackley.
"Obviously, I didn't like the call and I let him know about it. I just sort of snapped there," Descalso said.
Manager Mike Matheny immediately went out onto the field to protest the ejection and was also tossed from the game.
"I understand nobody likes being yelled at, but at that point in the game, I felt that didn't have to happen," Matheny said. "They do what they feel they need to do to defend themselves."
Matheny said some other players also had issues with the strike zone on similar inside pitches throughout the game.
"I don't know if they were blatant pitches, but they were obviously ones that eventually put us in a hole," he said. "At this level, I want our guys fighting for themselves and fighting for each other. They didn't like the zone."
Pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran was walked on the next at-bat and had Descalso been issued a walk, Matt Carpenter, who flied out to deep right field to end the game, would have represented the tying run.
"That's why I was [ticked]," he said. "Thought I had a walk there."
Descalso said he looked at video of the pitch after he was ejected and still wasn't swayed.
"I still don't like it, but I can't do anything about it now," he said. "All I'm going to say is I told him I didn't like the call and he didn't like what I had to say."
Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.