McCutchen suffers injury in Pirates’ 3-2, 10-inning loss to Diamondbacks
PHOENIX — The Pirates couldn’t wait to get home Sunday, but it had to be an uncomfortable flight back for everyone on the team charter.
Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker were sore from fresh injuries. In McCutchen’s case, it’s possible that discomfort in his back and side will keep him out of action for for an unspecified period.
The rest of the team had to ponder a disappointing 5-5 road trip that could have yielded much better results. It ended with a gut punch — a 3-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on a bizarre play in the 10th inning.
With one out, Tuffy Gosewisch doubled off reliever Mark Melancon (1-3), then went to third on a wild pitch. Nick Ahmed walked.
Andy Marte hit a grounder to shortstop Jordy Mercer, who threw to Jayson Nix for the force out at second base.
“It was a tailor-made double play ball,” Mercer said. “Everything went smoothly. Good feed, good exchange. Everything was great.”
Ahmed slid into second base with his left arm in the air. He deflected Nix’s throw with his hand, the ball rolled onto the infield grass and Gosewisch scored the winning run. Marte was ruled safe on a fielder’s choice.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a play like that before,” Nix said. “You don’t really see a whole lot, but you can feel (runners) when they’re coming in. (Ahmed) came in a little higher than normal, probably.”
Manager Clint Hurdle asked for an explanation why second base umpire Lance Barrett did not rule there was interference.
“I felt there was an extra effort (by Ahmed) to get his hand up in the way,” Hurdle said.
Crew chief Ron Kulpa disagreed, citing Rule 7.09 (f).
“The guy has to do something obviously, willfully, intentionally to break up the double play,” Kulpa said. “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.”
The play can’t be challenged. Kulpa added that he’s never seen that kind of play.
Mercer had, many years ago.
“I saw it in a high school game once and it was called interference,” Mercer said. “But I’ve never seen it not called like that.”
McCutchen was in the starting lineup, one day after being beaned in the back. However, he left the game in the eighth inning after suffering an injury while hitting a sacrifice fly that tied the game at 2.
As he ran out of the batter’s box, McCutchen grabbed his lower left side. He was helped down the dugout steps and went to the clubhouse.
“I really don’t know what happened,” McCutchen said. “It was cramping. I’ve never had any problems in that area before.
X-rays were negative. The Pirates described McCutchen’s injury as “left side discomfort,” and McCutchen said he “really can’t pinpoint” the exact area where he’s hurt.
The Pirates have to hope McCutchen did not strain his oblique, because that type of injury can linger for weeks. The Pirates are off Monday and will update McCutchen’s status Tuesday.
Walker, who’s second on the team in homers (16) and RBIs (50), did not play for the second day in a row because of a sore lower back.
The Pirates struggled to generate much offense against Diamondbacks starter Trevor Cahill, who went into the game with a 1-8 record and a 5.59 ERA. They went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.
“We had opportunities to get on top,” Hurdle said. “We couldn’t do it.”