"A Walk-Off Replay Challenge." Sounds like Bob Barker conceived it for the "Price Is Right." Instead, it was the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Clint Hurdle, assisted by his staff, who asked for a review of a play at the plate involving Starling Marte in the bottom of the ninth Tuesday night.
As reporter Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette describes, Marte sat on the ground with his legs crossed while propped up against a short wall in front of the Pirates dugout. Waiting for good news — he hoped.
"I knew I was safe," Marte said.
On the field, Marte was called out by umpire Quinn Walcott after hitting a triple and trying to score after an errant relay throw by Ehire Adrianza. On video, Marte's hand appeared to reach the plate before catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants could make a proper tag. The call was reversed and the Pirates poured out of their dugout to celebrate the first successful walk-off challenge in expanded video replay history. Final: Pirates 2, Giants 1. The play and review took about three minutes.
No longer do we have to wonder: Would the drag of waiting for a replay reversal in any way dampen the celebration of a winning team? Nope. The Pirates went just the right amount of berzerk.
Considering the frenzy of the moment, the throw from Pablo Sandoval to Posey wasn't bad, but it wasn't perfect, making Posey drift some to his right as he tried to set up a tag on Marte. Of course, the new rules about home-plate collisions — unofficially named for Posey after he sustained a broken ankle three years ago — came to mind. Would Posey have gone about the tag differently if the Scott Cousins play never happened, or if the sliding/tagging rules hadn't been changed? Nobody knows.
Regardless, neither Posey or Giants right-hander Tim Hudson, who was still in the game and served up Marte's triple, thought the replay showed enough for a reversal. It's tough being on the end of a call like that, especially when it helps to end a six-game winning streak.
The killer part of the play for the Giants, really, was Adrianza's wild throw for an error.
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