3 - 4 Final/19
  for this game

Braves top Pirates in 19-inning marathon

Jul 27, 2011 - 7:30 AM Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - The Braves and Pirates played what amounted to more than two full games, and it was an umpire that decided Atlanta's 4-3 win.

Julio Lugo tried scoring from third in the 19th inning on Scott Proctor's ground ball up the third-base line. Pedro Alvarez's throw to the plate beat the runner, and Michael McKenry appeared to swipe Lugo's leg with the tag.

Home plate umpire Jerry Meals saw things differently, however.

"I saw the tag, but he looked like he [missed] him and I called him safe for that," explained Meals. "I looked at the replays and it appeared he might have got him on the shin area. I'm guessing he might have got him, but when I was out there when it happened I didn't see a tag.

"I just saw the glove sweep up. I didn't see the glove hit his leg."

Lugo, after assuming he was out, celebrated the safe call by stepping on the plate for the first time, ending the bizarre six-hour, 39-minute marathon, the longest game in either clubs' history.

"I think [Meals] made the right call," said a smiling Lugo. "I didn't feel the tag."

The second meeting in the four-game set could have ended numerous times, but neither team scored between the fourth through 18th innings. Atlanta stranded a whopping 23 runners, going 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position. Pittsburgh wasn't much better, leaving 16 and managing two hits in 15 chances with RISP.

Proctor (2-3) twice stranded a pair in scoring position in his three innings of relief to earn the win, snapping Atlanta's three-game slide.

"I was very impressed with the guys to be able to just battle, to continue to show what this team is made of," Proctor said. "It's going to be important down the stretch."

Daniel McCutchen (3-2) was tagged with the unfortunate loss, battling through 5 1/3 frames to carry an exhausted bullpen that has worked into extra innings three times in the past nine games.

"We'll be talking about that one for a long time in Pittsburgh baseball," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who immediately went ballistic and followed Meals off the field. "Sometimes that's the way goes. It's just disappointing the call had to be missed ... We're going to move on. The season's not going to stop."

The win was bitter sweet for Atlanta, which was forced to place All-Star catcher Brian McCann on the 15-day disabled after he suffered a left oblique strain in the ninth inning.

Starters Tommy Hanson and Jeff Karstens were long gone by the time the game was decided. Hanson went six innings for Atlanta and gave up three runs on seven hits. Karstens lasted five frames and was tagged for three runs on six hits.

The first inning saw the Pirates take the lead as Xavier Paul led off with a single and later scored on a Neil Walker triple. Later in the frame, Alvarez singled home Walker for a 2-0 lead.

It was 3-0 in the second after McKenry hit a home run to left, his second of the season.

The Braves, though, tied the contest in the third. With two outs, McCann kept the inning alive with a single and Freddie Freeman followed suit with a base hit. Dan Uggla hit an RBI single and, after Eric Hinske walked to load the bases, Jason Heyward singled home two runs to make it a 3-3 contest.

Pittsburgh stranded two on in the fifth, but the Braves wasted a golden opportunity in the sixth.

With Tony Watson on the mound in the home sixth, Hinske was hit by a pitch and Heyward followed by hitting a chopper to third that Alvarez barehanded, but his throw to first went high and the Braves had men on second and third with no outs.

However, they were unable to take advantage as Lugo flied out to left and, after Brooks Conrad was intentionally walked, Nate McLouth struck out swinging and Martin Prado grounded out.

Pittsburgh had an opportunity in the ninth as the team had men on first and third with one out, but McKenry was picked off at third on a pitch-out and Paul struck out to end the frame.

The Braves stranded runners at second and third in the 11th when Prado grounded out to end the threat.

Atlanta put men in scoring position again in the 12th, but were unable to take advantage as Lugo grounded into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Game Notes

Fifteen pitchers combined to throw 608 pitches thrown...Cristhian Martinez tossed six scoreless innings in relief for Atlanta...Meals ejected McLouth and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez for arguing balls and strikes in the ninth inning...Prado went 0-for-9...Pittsburgh All-Star Andrew McCutchen went 0- for-6 with three walks...Walker, McKenry, Freeman and Lugo all had three hits.