Monday, March 31, 2014
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Major League Baseball's use of expanded replay drew a workout in Monday's opener between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates, with one call being upheld and another overturned.
Cubs manager Rick Renteria asked umpires to take another look after Jeff Samardzija was called out at first base in the fifth inning Monday at PNC Park. The call was confirmed on replay after a 2-minute delay. That marked the first used of expanded replay in regular season play.
Umpires went to replay again in the 10th inning of a scoreless game, with the original safe call on an attempted pickoff play at first by Pittsburgh reliever Bryan Morris overturned after a 2 1-2-minute stoppage.
Most calls can be challenged this season under MLB's new replay format. The system was tested in spring training and managers didn't waste much time putting it to use on opening day.
Samardzija was batting with runners on first and second with no outs in the fifth when the Cubs pitcher attempted to move the runners up on a sacrifice bunt. The bunt rolled quickly back to Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano, who threw to third for one out, with third baseman Pedro Alvarez's throw to first appearing to beat Samardzija by a hair.
The call on the field was confirmed, with the packed house roaring its approval when home plate umpire John Hirschbeck signaled the call.
Chicago's Emilio Bonifacio singled with one out in the 10th when he dived back to first during a pickoff attempt by Morris. First base umpire Bob Davidson initially called Bonifacio safe. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle emerged from the dugout moments later to challenge the call, with Hirschbeck signaling the runner was out.