Atlanta’s backup catcher hit a bases-loaded single in the 10th inning and the Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 on Wednesday night for their second straight victory in extra innings.
This time, there was no controversy, no debate and a lot less innings.
Ross became Atlanta’s starting catcher when the Braves placed McCann on the 15-day DL before the game with a left oblique injury. Ross came through with two hits, driving in both of the Braves’ runs.
“You’re not replacing B-Mac,” Ross said. “I’m trying to get in there and hold down the fort until he comes back.”
The Braves are 17-6 with Ross starting, and the veteran is hitting .316 with four homers and 18 RBIs in those starts.
“I can’t think of very many teams in the major leagues that have the quality we do at the backup catcher position,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
“I would have done the same thing they did, pitch around him to get to me,” Ross said.
Meals said Wednesday he watched a replay and Pittsburgh catcher Mike McKenry tagged Lugo before he scored the winning run in the second game of the series.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he wanted the clear acknowledgement from Meals that he missed the call.
“I think that would be appropriate,” Hurdle said before Meals released his statement. “It would be professional. It would be respectful. And then we could all move on.”
Hurdle spoke with Meals when lineup cards were exchanged at home plate before the game. The two shook hands, and Hurdle gave the umpire a pat on the back before returning to the dugout.
The 19-inning game lasted 6 hours, 39 minutes and was the longest in Turner Field history and in both franchise histories. The game drained each team’s bullpen, and the start of another extra-inning game had Gonzalez worried.
“I was starting to get nervous, I was starting to get real nervous,” Gonzalez said.
Pittsburgh, seeking its first winning season in 19 years, fell 1 1/2 games behind St Louis and Milwaukee in the NL Central.
“We’re not built to slug,” Hurdle said. “You combine that and you come in here and face the Braves starting rotation, it’s one of the best ones in the league. It’s tough duty.
“We’ve got to find some bats to get in play. Hopefully that will start tomorrow.”
Maholm gave up nine hits in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked none.
Jones grounded out in the ninth.
Schafer leads the team with 15 stolen bases, usually as the leadoff hitter. McCann is hitting .306 with 18 homers and a team-leading 55 RBIs.
Boscan will serve as the backup to Ross while McCann recovers.
NOTES: The Pirates placed INF Chase d’Arnaud(notes) on the 15-day DL with a fractured right little finger. … The Braves acquired C Wil Nieves(notes) from Milwaukee for cash and assigned Nieves to Triple-A Gwinnett. … Pittsburgh C Ryan Doumit(notes) was 0 for 3 in his second injury rehab game with Triple-A Indianapolis. Doumit is returning from a left ankle sprain.