The Arizona Diamondbacks managed to split their series with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday with a walk-off win, but some will argue they didn’t earn it. With the game tied 2-2 in the 10th inning, Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed broke up a would-be double play by lifting his left hand on his slide to deflect the ball. He may have done it intentionally.
Pirates second baseman Jayson Nix’s throw hit Ahmed in the hand as Ahmed went into his slide. Had second base umpire Ron Kulpa ruled that Ahmed batted the ball on purpose, he could have automatically awarded the double play to Pittsburgh. Instead, Kulpa felt there was not enough evidence to indicate that Ahmed got his hand in the way intentionally. A run scored from third and the game ended.
“The guy has to do something obviously, willfully, intentionally to break up the double play,” Kulpa said after the game, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Guys slide into second base all the time with their hands up. It’s a big play. We looked at the tape, and Lance got it right.”
When you watch the replay in slow motion, it sure looks like Ahmed knew what he was doing. But in Kulpa’s defense, the play was a judgment call and was not reviewable. He didn’t have the luxury of watching it in slow motion, and in real-time he obviously just saw a runner sliding with his hands up like many others do.
Naturally, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle disagreed with the call.
“I felt there was an extra effort (by Ahmed) to get his hand up in the way,” Hurdle said.
I agree, but I’m not saying I would have caught it in game speed.
H/T Hardball Talk