Turns out he was right.
LaRoche became the first player to have a home run taken away by video replay, but it didn’t prevent the last-place Pittsburgh Pirates from beating the St. Louis Cardinals 5-2 on Wednesday night behind Ross Ohlendorf’s(notes) two-hit pitching over six innings.
“If I could have bet the day this started, I would have put a lot of money on myself to be the first,” LaRoche said after his first-inning drive to right field went from a homer to a double in a couple of minutes. “That’s kind of the way it goes. I can laugh those things off now, but if there’s a couple of guys on and we lose by one, it’s huge.”
With a runner on, LaRoche’s flyball struck either a railing or small protective screen above the 21-foot wall in right field—both objects are in play—but first base umpire Lance Barksdale signaled a home run. LaRoche stopped at second, only to be told by umpire Alfonso Marquez to head home.
Crew chief Randy Marsh, Barksdale and Marquez watched the replay while Mike Winters stayed at home plate, and Marsh quickly changed the call to a double. The Pirates did not argue, and no TV replay showed the ball reaching the seats.
“They went right to it and they saved us a run,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.
Of the seven potential home run plays reviewed this season, this was the first to be changed. The second occurred shortly afterward, when Florida Marlins pinch-hitter Ross Gload’s(notes) drive was finally called foul at Milwaukee.
Since video review began Aug. 28, 10 calls have been upheld and four were changed. Of the other two to be reversed, both of which occurred in September, Carlos Pena(notes) of Tampa Bay and Bengie Molina(notes) of San Francisco were given home runs.
“Before they reviewed it, I said I’m probably going back out there,” LaRoche said. “I would have been shocked if it stayed. That does not surprise me one bit.”
Not that the LaRoche call mattered that much as the Pirates won successive games for the first time since April 25-26 in San Diego, dealing Joel Pineiro(notes) (4-3) his third consecutive loss. Pineiro allowed five runs and 11 hits over six innings.
The Pirates had lost eight in a row and 12 of 13 before outscoring the Cardinals 12-3 while winning the first two games of the three-game series. The Cardinals have lost five in a row in Pittsburgh, including a 7-1 loss Monday.
Ohlendorf (4-3) mostly cruised against a Cardinals lineup that was missing Ryan Ludwick(notes), who went on the 15-day disabled list earlier in the day with a right hamstring injury. The Cardinals already were without center fielder Rick Ankiel(notes) (shoulder), and their only run off Ohlendorf came on Skip Schumaker’s(notes) homer in the fourth.
“He did a really good job of throwing strikes, keeping us off balance,” Schumaker said.
LaRoche doubled twice and the previously slumping Moss had two hits and scored twice, giving him five hits in two nights since his average dipped to .174. He’s now up to .213.
“We were about as low as can be two days ago and now we’re getting some confidence back,” LaRoche said.
Pirates 2B Freddy Sanchez(notes) ranged far behind the bag and, while nearly on his back, threw out Pujols at first in the seventh. … The reversal prevented the Pirates from homering in a season-high four consecutive games. … Ohlendorf won his third consecutive start at home.