Pirates Get Bit By Snakes In the Desert

PHOENIX – 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.


ST. LOUIS (AP) – John Lackey won his St. Louis debut when the Cardinals rallied for three runs in the seventh inning, capped by a go-ahead from rookie Oscar Taveras to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2 on Sunday.

The Cardinals took two of three from NL Central-leading Milwaukee and pulled within one game of the division lead.

Lackey (1-0) was the Cardinals’ big catch at the trade deadline that capitalized on Boston’s sell-off. The right-hander who won the clinching Game 6 of the World Series against St. Louis last fall held Milwaukee to two runs in seven innings and is 12-7 overall.

Trevor Rosenthal struck out Carlos Gomez with two on for his major league-leading 34th save in 38 chances.

Milwaukee starter Matt Garza was pulled after allowing one hit in six innings because he tweaked his left side. Reliever Jeremy Jeffress (0-1) took the loss.


WASHINGTON (AP) – Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 while pitching three-hit ball for seven innings, earning his first win in a month as the Washington Nationals beat Philadelphia.

Strasburg (8-9) had been 0-3 in his previous five starts, losing his last three outings. He walked one and didn’t permit a runner past second base.

Denard Span had two hits, two steals, an RBI and scored a run for NL East-leading Washington.

Cole Hamels (6-6) allowed an unearned run over seven innings.


NEW YORK (AP) – Madison Bumgarner pitched a two-hitter and Hunter Pence homered twice to lead the San Francisco Giants past the New York Mets.

Bumgarner (13-8) beat the Mets again, running his record to 3-0 in five games against them and giving the Giants their third win in 10 games. Brandon Belt and Buster Posey also went deep for the Giants.

The left-hander struck out 10 and walked one in his second career shutout.

Bartolo Colon (10-9) was denied his 200th career win.


SAN DIEGO (AP) – Everth Cabrera singled in the winning run in the 10th inning and the San Diego Padres sent Atlanta to its sixth straight loss.

Will Venable led off the 10th with an infield single against David Hale (3-4) and Alexi Amarista walked. The Braves got a double play on Renee Rivera’s sacrifice bunt attempt with Amarista taking second.

Chris Nelson walked and after a double steal, Cabrera lined a hard single past second baseman Ramiro Pena.

Tim Stauffer (4-2) pitched one inning for the win.


MIAMI (AP) – Billy Hamilton scored three times to help the Cincinnati Reds break out of an offensive slump and beat Miami.

Todd Frazier had a season-high four hits and Devin Mesoraco hit a two-run single for the Reds, now 5-11 since the All-Star break.

Mike Leake (9-9) allowed one run in six innings. He has won all three of his career starts against the Marlins.

Jacob Turner (4-7), starting in place of injured Henderson Alvarez, allowed five runs in four innings.


LOS ANGELES (AP) – Edwin Jackson pitched six innings for his first victory in six weeks and Chris Coghlan hit a tiebreaking two-run homer as the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Jackson (6-11) was 0-4 with a 7.39 ERA in his previous seven starts.

The NL West-leading Dodgers dropped two of three to the team with the third-worst record in the majors.

Josh Beckett (6-6) gave up three runs and six hits in four-plus innings in his fifth straight start when he failed to get past the fifth.