Pirates fall to D-backs in 10 on controversial break-up of double play
Manager Clint Hurdle and the Pittsburgh Pirates lingered on the field to argue with the umpires, to no avail. It was all over.
The Pirates lost 3-2 to the Diamondbacks on Sunday when Arizona runner Nick Ahmed put his arms up as he slid into second base and deflected a potential double play relay in the 10th inning.
With runners at the corners and one out, Andy Marte hit a grounder to shortstop Jordy Mercer, who flipped to second baseman Jayson Nix for a forceout.
Ahmed came in with his arms raised up, and was hit by Nix's throw. The ball rolled away, allowing Tuffy Gosewich to score the winning run.
Hurdle argued for runner's interference.
"The rule book states is the only way you can call runner's interference is if they alter his slide to try and prevent a throw," Hurdle said. "In their opinion, in the second base umpire's, he did not alter his slide. He threw his hands up like most guys do in a slide and unfortunately it was right in the direct line with the ball.
"I felt there was an extra effort in getting his hands up, in the way."
There was no video review of the final play, and crew chief Ron Kulpa said the call couldn't be challenged.
After the game, the umpires looked at a replay for their own sake. Second base umpire Lance Barrett stood by his no-call on interference and Kulpa backed him.
"It has to be an unintended play for him to be out for interference. It has to have been willful and deliberate with obvious intent to break up a double play," Kulpa said. "The guy has to do something obviously, willfully, intentionally to break up that double play. Guys slide into second base all the time with their hands up."
"When Lance told him what he had, we talked about it but Clint wasn't very irate. It's a big play. We looked at the tape, and Lance got it right," Kulpa added.
Ahmed had a bandage over his arm after the game.
"I was anticipating if the ball was on the ground trying to go in hard and breaking up two," Ahmed said. "I went in hard and slid late, and it looked like Nix kind of dropped down to try to make the throw and it just hit me in the arm."
Gosewich doubled with one out in the 10th and Ahmed walked. A wild pitch by Mark Melancon (1-3) moved Gosewich to third.
"In the umpires' opinion, we won the game," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "I had nothing to appeal. I was good with that call."
Mercer said he had never seen anything like the final play.
"All I know is I can see him not intentionally doing it because do you know how hard it is, trying to knock down a ball with a hand?" Mercer said. "It's just unfortunate. It's weird. I have never seen it, especially with an open hand."
The Pirates had runners on second and third in the top half of the inning, but Evan Marshall (4-2) struck out pinch hitter Gaby Sanchez and Travis Snider to escape the jam.
Pirates star Andrew McCutchen left the game with left side discomfort. There were no further details on his injury.
The Pirates signed Nix before Sunday's game. He was released by Tampa Bay on Friday and also played for Philadelphia earlier this season. Nix entered the game in the eighth and soon was involved in the key play.
The Pirates optioned infielder Brent Morel, who went 2 for 2 with three RBIs in Saturday night's 8-3 win over Arizona, to Triple-A Indianapolis. He was 3 for 16 in nine games with the Pirates.
Pirates: Second baseman Neil Walker missed a second straight game with lower back tightness. He'll get one more day of rest with the Pirates getting Monday off and is expected to be ready to play Tuesday against Miami. ... Outfielder Starling Marte went 1 for 4 in a rehab game with Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday. He's coming back from a concussion.
Diamondbacks: Outfielder Cody Ross went swimming in a pool on Saturday, but is still a ways off, Gibson said. Ross has been on the disabled list since July 22 with a left calf injury. ... Outfielder A.J. Pollock (hand) doubled in two at-bats in a rookie league game Saturday and could soon be sent to Triple-A Reno to continue his rehab.
Pirates: After an off day Monday, right-hander Charlie Morton gets the call against the Marlins in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Morton has worked at least seven innings in eight starts this season. He's 5-3 all-time against the Marlins.
Diamondbacks: Left-hander Wade Miley (7-7) starts the opener of a three-game home series against Kansas City on Tuesday. He's 4-1 in his last six starts and the team is 4-0 in his last four home starts.