McCutchen injured as Pirates fall to Diamondbacks, 3-2


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PHOENIX -- Russell Martin stood near the first-base coaching box in disbelief. Ike Davis, Mark Melancon and Travis Snider stayed on the field, too, despite the Arizona Diamondbacks' celebration and the disappearance of the umpire crew down a tunnel to the Chase Field concourse.

Finally, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle left the dugout to retrieve his men. No review on this one, boys. No challenge. Game over.

The Pirates lost in 10 innings, 3-2, on a bizarre walk-off play against the Diamondbacks Sunday in a game that also featured the early exit of Andrew McCutchen due to injury. The Pirates finished their 10-game road trip against the National League West Division at 5-5 and are in third place in the NL Central, 11/2 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers.

Tuffy Gosewisch, who scored the winning run, reached base on a double off Melancon in the 10th. Ball four to Nick Ahmed was a wild pitch, putting runners on the corners with one out.

Andy Marte hit a grounder right to shortstop Jordy Mercer, who initiated what should have been an inning-ending double play. He flipped the ball to second baseman Jayson Nix, who joined the team Sunday morning. Ahmed stuck his left hand up as Nix threw to first and deflected the ball, preventing the third out and allowing the go-ahead run to score.

"I could see probably a little more of him than normal," Nix said. "You don't really see a whole lot, but you can feel them when they're coming in. I could probably feel him a little higher, a little more of him than normal."

According to Rule 7.09(f), a double play is awarded due to interference if the umpire judges that a runner "willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play."

"I felt that there was an extra effort in getting his hands up in the way," Hurdle said.

Hurdle went out to argue with the umpires, but the play is not reviewable.

"The guy has to do something obviously, willfully, intentionally to break up that double play," crew chief Ron Kulpa told a pool reporter. "Guys slide into second base all the time with their hands up."

Ahmed said he wasn't trying to deflect the throw.

"I don't think anyone has ever done that, throw their hands up to block the ball like that," Ahmed said. "I just slid hard and late and the throw happened to hit me."

Contributing to the 2-2 tie entering the 10th was the Pirates going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranding eight on base. They trailed, 2-1, until the eighth, when McCutchen simultaneously tied the score and hurt himself.

Leading off the eighth against Brad Ziegler, Josh Harrison singled. He ran on the pitch to Gregory Polanco, who stretched a hit into a double.

McCutchen flied out to left, scoring Harrison, but he grabbed his left side as he jogged up the first-base line. He left the game, and the dugout, in pain.

"I thought I was cramping," he said. "I never really have had any problems in that area."

McCutchen said the final swing, resulting in the sacrifice fly, caused the pain. X-rays showed no fracture. He was stiff after taking a fastball off the spine Saturday night, he said, but went through his normal pregame warm-up and routine.

"I guess I really won't know until [today] and see how I feel, and I guess we just go from there," he said.

The offensive struggles against Arizona starter Trevor Cahill -- seven innings, one run -- forced Hurdle to pinch-hit for Francisco Liriano in the seventh despite Liriano's pitch count of 79 through six innings of two-run ball. Liriano has a 1.44 ERA in his past four starts and 29 strikeouts in 25 innings.

"He pitched well again, more momentum going his way," Hurdle said.

Liriano allowed both runs in the third. Gosewisch singled, Liriano walked Ahmed and Cahill sacrificed them to second and third. Ender Inciarte's grounder scored one run, Jordan Pacheco's single scored another and Arizona led, 2-1.

"The location of the pitches is getting a lot better," Liriano said. "Executing pitches, trying to get ahead in the count. It's just all about location and nothing else."

That was the case for Ahmed's left arm, too, and his location was perfect.

Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and Twitter @BrinkPG.


First Published August 3, 2014 12:00 AM

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