The Pirates were victimized in part by their own poor play against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on Saturday night, with fielding mistakes by Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez, and numerous missed opportunities on offense. But the overall shape of the game was determined by the umpires, who blew three calls in the Brewers’ favor, including two crucial ones.
One came relatively early in the game, when Mark Kotsay attempted to steal second. Ryan Doumit’s throw was off the mark, but Ronny Cedeno caught it and made a spectacular tag while still in midair, beating Kotsay. Nevertheless, the runner was called safe.
The two crucial plays came in the seventh inning. In the top of the inning, the Pirates got two runners on with no outs and had Neil Walker at the plate in a 2-1 game. Walker hit a grounder that resulted in an out at second. Replays showed Walker narrowly beat the throw to first, but he was called out anyway, meaning the Bucs were left with two outs and a runner on third instead of one out and runners on first and third. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected from the game after arguing the call, and the Bucs failed to score.
In the bottom of the inning, the Brewers had runners at second and third with no outs when Craig Counsell hit into a fielder’s choice that resulted in the Pirates throwing home. Ryan Doumit had blocked the plate brilliantly and Corey Hart never touched it, but was called safe anyway. The Brewers went on to score five runs in the inning, breaking the game open. The results might have been very different had the umps done their jobs, but alas, they did not.
Prince Fielder, Brandon Boggs and Ryan Braun hit solo homers for the Brewers, while Lyle Overbay hit one for the Bucs. Pirates starter Jeff Karstens went five innings with five strikeouts, allowing the homers to Fielder and Boggs.