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Pirates Vs. Braves: Jerry Meals Blows Call At Plate To Give Pirates Loss In Historic 19-Inning Game

The Pirates lost in the 19th inning against the Atlanta Braves on an embarrassing blown call by home-plate umpire Jerry Meals that ruined what had been a hard-fought contest by both teams.

The Pirates struck first, scoring two runs in the first inning and one more on a solo homer by Michael McKenry in the second. But the Braves scored three runs of their own when Jeff Karstens labored through the third.

That was the last team either team would score for about five hours, in what would turn out to be the longest game in the history of either team, running at well over six hours. The efforts of both bullpens were heroic. For the Braves, Cristhian Martinez pitched six brilliant scoreless innings from the 11th to the 16th. For the Pirates, Dan McCutchen pitched five scoreless innings before Meals ended the game in the 19th.

In between there was the ejection of Braves outfielder Nate McLouth and manager Fredi Gonzalez, along with three scoreless innings by Jason Grilli in which he somehow left seven runners on base. There was also an 0-for-9 performance by the Braves' Martin Prado. Basically, it was an extremely strange game.

Then, the 19th. Julio Lugo walked with one out, then moved to third on a single by Jordan Schafer, who himself moved to second on catcher's indifference. Then Scott Proctor, the Braves pitcher, came to the plate because the Braves were completely out of options. He grounded the ball to third, and Lugo came home. The throw beat him by a mile, and McKenry tagged him at least a foot in front of the plate. But Meals called him safe for some reason, ending the game. It was an awful ending, particularly for Dan McCutchen, who had fought through inning after inning, only to have it end on the whim of an umpire. He and the Pirates deserved better.

For much more on the game, check out Bucs Dugout.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.