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D-Backs beat Pirates on controversial no-call at second base (Video)

Nick-Ahmed-slideThe 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.

Also see: D-Backs reliever ejected for intentionally plunking Andrew McCutchen

H/T Hardball Talk

Pirates get picked off, run themselves out of inning like a bunch of ding dongs (Video)

Pirates fansThe Pirates turned back the clock to (anywhere from 1993-2012 take your pick) with this embarrassing blunder on Wednesday.

Pittsburgh was up 5-4 on the Giants and Chris Stewart walked to load the bases with one out. It was looking like Pittsburgh was in for a big inning to open up the game, but then the unthinkable happened: two players were tagged out on the bases as Stewart was heading to first.

First Travis Snider was picked off second and tagged out, and then Gaby Sanchez was caught in a rundown and also tagged out. Pirates baseball for you. After a play like that, it should come as no surprise to you that they blew the game and lost.

Baby’s reaction perfectly sums up error by Pittsburgh Pirates (Photo)

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The Milwaukee Brewers kept rolling right along on Sunday, improving their record to a major league best 10-2, via a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Already with a 2-1 lead, this errant throw by Pirates catcher Tony Sanchez in the sixth inning allowed Aramis Ramirez and Lyle Overbay to score Milwaukee’s final two runs of the day.

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At the end of the inning, FOX showed the baby pictured above, whose facial expression was probably shared by more than a few Pirates fans.

Photo via Twitter/JustinGroh

Adam Wainwright: Pirates divulged their game plan to media

Adam Wainwright NLDSYou know how some players and coaches are grumps with the media and don’t say a whole lot to reporters? A lot of times that’s because they are protecting valuable information. Perhaps the Pittsburgh Pirates should have taken that approach prior to Game 5 of the NLDS.

Prior to the decisive Game 5 that the Pirates lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1, a few Pittsburgh hitters revealed part of their game plan for facing Cards starter Adam Wainwright. They said that they swung at too many of his breaking balls in a Game 1 loss to him, so they were planning to lay off of it this time.

After throwing a complete game for the win Wednesday, Wainwright said in his postgame interview with TBS that he knew how to attack the Pirates hitters because his opponents divulged their game plan.

“They said in the media that they were going to try to not swing at any of my breaking stuff,” Wainwright said with a smile. “I guess I had to go out there and prove I could throw it for strikes.”

Wainwright did just that — he threw 96 pitches, 66 of which were strikes. According to analysis from Joe Lucia of The Outside corner, Wainwright threw 48 curves in Game 5 compared to 33 in Game 1. He got five outs in play on it both games, but knowing that the Pirates would try laying off of it more, he used his curve more in Game 5. Baseball Tonight researcher Justin Havens says the 48 curveballs in Game 5 were the most Wainwright had thrown in a start in his last five years.

So how did he know what the Pirates’ approach would be? Just take a look at these comments from some of Pittsburgh’s hitters made prior to Game 5.

[Read more...]

Pirates giving away epic AJ Burnett t-shirts (Picture)

AJ-Burnett-sunglasses-shirt

AJ Burnett is such a bad-ass. Even if the Pittsburgh Pirates don’t improve upon their recent misfortunes in 2013, their fans are lucky that Burnett is still anchoring the team’s staff. In order to remind the fans of how fortunate they are to have acquired Burnett, the Pirates are giving away the incredible t-shirts you see above before Friday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.

Can you think of a better giveaway than that? Prizes like this team-branded waffle iron and this Coco Crisp bobblehead doll come close, but nothing beats a T-shirt that features Burnett rocking sunglasses and throwing up a BAMF hand signal. The dude has it all, and if you don’t believe me just check out this GIF that Getting Blanked passed along:

AJ-Burnett

Are we done here? Game, set, match.

Fist pound to Big League Stew

Pirates putting prospects through Navy SEALs training, want Hells Angels attitude

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ late-season collapse may only represent a part of the franchise’s issues. A report published by the Pittsburgh Tribune late Thursday detailed some of the extremely questionable methods of player development the franchise is trying to establish, including putting players through Navy SEALs training, and encouraging a Hells Angels attitude.

According to the Tribune’s Dejan Kovacevic who was reporting based on distraught members of the Pirates organization contacting him, the team had several top minor league prospects participate in Navy SEALs-type training last weekend.

The activities reportedly included having players wake up at 5 a.m., do push-ups, sit-ups, crab walks, push truck tires, dive into sand piles, and run along the beach while carrying heavy polls. Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that players engaged in hand-to-hand combat, and that one top prospect, pitcher Jameson Taillon, once injured his knee in that type of training. The Tribune says drill sergeants were putting the players through these activities and yelling at them the entire time.

As if that type of training weren’t already questionable enough for a baseball organization, a leaked internal email from the team’s assistant GM outlined a motorcycle gang outlaw attitude they want their players to have.

[Read more...]

Brandon Phillips accuses Pirates player of making racist comments toward him

Bad blood has developed between the Pirates and Reds over the course of the season, as a number of players have been hit by pitches and taken exception to it. Another incident occurred on Monday night when Brandon Phillips was hit by a pitch from Pittsburgh hurler Jared Hughes, resulting in a warning for both teams.

It is unclear whether or not he’s claiming it happened before or after he was hit, but Phillips wrote on his Twitter account after the game that a Pirates player made a racist comment toward him.

Phillips gave no clarification and simply followed up with a tweet about how pleased he was to get the win in extra innings. While we hope it’s not true, it certainly wouldn’t be the first case of racism or cultural insensitivity that we’ve seen in professional sports. Rivalries exist and tempers are going to flare, but there’s no excuse for any player to bring race into a disagreement.

UPDATE: Phillips talked with Hughes and they both say there is no issue.

Photo credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE