Bizarre double play, replay review costs Diamondbacks in loss to Pirates

Aug 10, 2022, 10:34 PM | Updated: Aug 17, 2022, 6:40 pm
Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Daulton Varsho leaps in vain for a triple hit by Pittsburgh Pira...

Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Daulton Varsho leaps in vain for a triple hit by Pittsburgh Pirates' Rodolfo Castro during the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Diamondbacks loaded the bases with nobody out down 6-3 in the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates before one of the strangest plays of the season cost them in a 6-4 loss.

The inning started with two straight singles for Daulton Varsho and Emmanuel Rivera. In the next at-bat, Seth Beer walked.

After Sergio Alcantara came on to pinch run for Beer, the D-backs’ Carson Kelly hit a sharp grounder toward third base. Pittsburgh’s Ke’Bryan Hayes fielded it and threw the ball to second, where a forceout created the first out of the inning on Alcantara and Varsho scored.

From there, Rivera had barely left second base because it appeared he thought the grounder had the potential to be caught. So, Pirates second baseman Rodolfo Castro wisely caught onto that and tossed the ball to third base where shortstop Kevin Newman was waiting.

Newman made a quick move at Rivera to initiate a rundown, and Rivera moved in the other direction. For whatever reason, Newman got lost in the play and thought a forceout was good on third base, so he went to tap it instead of a rundown commencing. But Alcantara was already out, and third base coach Tony Perezchica told Rivera to run back to second base where he could be safe.

Rivera didn’t really step on the gas, and Newman shared a lack of urgency in tracking down Rivera. The ball arrived late to second, where Rivera was safe. Well, if he had just stepped on the bag.

The umpire on the play originally made the wrong ruling of Rivera out and Alcantara safe while Pirates reliever Wil Crowe was appealing for a double play. They were both wrong, or at least Crowe was for the thought since Rivera would have been safe if he didn’t have his foot off second base.

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo came out and challenged the call.

After a review, the correct decision was made that Alcantara and Rivera were both out.

Lovullo after the game supported the final decision from the umpires and saw the same conclusion.

“I’ve never seen anything like that happen before but everybody on this field will probably live and learn through that,” he said.

Regardless of how bizarre the sequence was, the D-backs went from runners on first and second with one out in a two-run ball game to just a runner on first with two outs because of Rivera’s goof.

Pinch-hitter Jordan Luplow flied out on the next at-bat to end the game.

The D-backs’ run of four wins in their last five games coming into Wednesday had a lot to do with their stellar starting pitching in the last two-plus weeks, but the D-backs weren’t able to get that level of a contribution from Madison Bumgarner or a surge of offense to make up for it.

Bumgarner gave up eight hits and two walks in 6.0 innings for five earned runs, making it three straight outings in which the left-hander has allowed at least eight hits. That hasn’t happened for him since his second season back in 2010, per Stathead.

It’s a total of 26 hits in the three games, similar to a stretch earlier this year when Bumgarner sacrificed 46 hits across six outings from late May to June. His WHIP prior to Wednesday’s action was at a 1.39, the highest of his career outside of a 1.44 in a nine-start 2020 campaign. Those obviously are two outliers compared to Bumgarner’s terrific 1.14 mark on his career.

Arizona’s offense was actually able to put runs on the board when it started to get some things in motion. The problem is it only happened twice before the ninth inning.

Outfielder Jake McCarthy was hit by a pitch to begin the bottom of the fourth inning before back-to-back singles from Alek Thomas and Ketel Marte scored McCarthy. A sacrifice fly from Christian Walker on the next at-bat brought home Thomas for the second and final run of the fourth.

Two innings later, Thomas singled again and then Walker followed suit after a Marte flyout. Once again, a sac fly produced a run, this time from Varsho.

That marked the two times before the ninth inning that the D-backs had multiple players reach base, and no one would get to second base safely in any other situation, meaning Arizona was a perfect 1-for-1 with runners in scoring position before Kelly’s double play. Kind of ironic when Rivera was at second base safely, no?

The Pirates got one more insurance run off D-backs reliever Edwin Uceta in the ninth inning.

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