Review helps Cubs break ice in 4-3 road loss in 16 innings to Pirates
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter April 2, 2014 11:11PM
cubS at pirates
The facts: 11:35 a.m., CSN, 720-AM.
The starters: Jason Hammel (7-8, 4.97 ERA) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (6-4, 3.59).
Updated: April 3, 2014 12:22AM
PITTSBURGH — It took their first successful challenge under baseball’s new replay system, but the Cubs finally scored their first run of the season Wednesday, 18 innings in.
They even added on before the game ended after midnight, but the Pirates took a 4-3 victory in 16 innings on a walk-off single by pinch hitter Tony Sanchez that scored Jose Tabata.
But two games and 25-plus innings into what already promised to be a long Cubs season, one of the Cubs’ best offensive weapons has proven to be the new replay challenge system.
Manager Rick Renteria was the first in the majors to use it in Monday’s opener, and on Wednesday, he used it to produce a run — after Nate Schierholtz grounded into what was initially called a 4-6-3, inning-ending double play.
Renteria immediately called for the play to be reviewed after shortstop Jordy Mercer clearly didn’t touch the bag on what looked like a classic “in the neighborhood” play.
But a true throw and clean catch-and-relay on a “neighborhood” call still gets upheld, game officials said. What made this play subject to review was the wide throw that caused Mercer to be pulled away from the bag.
After a 2 minute, 24-second review, the out at second was overturned, giving Schierholtz an RBI on the play — and giving the Cubs their first run of the season.
Ryan Sweeney followed with an inning-ending grounder.
“It’s going to be kind of an organic work in progress for everybody,” Renteria said of the challenge system before the game.
“If it helps us clean up some plays, it’s helpful. I still think that umpires do a great job.
“I know sometimes we’re emotionally invested, and they’re emotionally invested in themselves, doing a good job. We both have to grow a little bit of thicker skin, dealing with each other the best way we possibly can.”
The Cubs used every player on their roster except Monday’s starting pitcher, Jeff Samardzija, and Thursday’s scheduled starter, Jason Hammel, in the 16-inning marathon. More than 500 pitches were thrown. And three replay challenges, in all, were made. When it hit the 5-hour, 50-minute mark just before midnight Chicago time, it set the record for longest baseball game in Pittsburgh major-league history.
The Cubs had outhit the Pirates 15-8 — five of the hits belonging to new leadoff man Emilio Bonifacio.
But they were 1-for-16 with men in scoring position and 1-for-27 through 26 innings.