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Pittsburgh Pirates Heartbroken After Blown Call Against Atlanta

ATLANTA - JULY 26: Julio Lugo #28 of the Atlanta Braves scores the game-winning run in the 19th inning against Michael McKenry #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates at Turner Field on July 26, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Nate ScacciaAnalyst IIIJuly 27, 2011

The game lasted 19 innings and nearly seven hours. Two of the upper-tier teams in the National League gave everything they had in a match up that would ultimately be decided by one of, if not the worst umpire calls in the history of baseball.

The Pirates and the Braves fought over a 3-3 tie from the fourth inning onward. With the 18th inning winding down the game would now tie the league record for innings played this season. The fans still watched their teams and the countless fans watching at home in suspense of what would happen to finally finish off the game. Then, it happened.

With Atlanta Braves shortstop Julio Lugo on third base, tensions and suspense mounted as relief pitcher Scott Proctor came up to bat. Pirates relief pitcher Daniel McCutchen's throw was hit by Proctor but all was still well. McCutchen threw to third basemen Pedro Alvarez who relayed the ball to rookie catcher Michael McKenry. McKenry tagged out Julio Lugo and was possibly looking at a double play. But umpire Jerry Meals had other ideas.

Meals called Lugo safe and the game ended with a score of 4-3 in 19 innings. Losing in 19 innings is hard enough but losing on a disputed call is far worse. McHenry tagged Lugo out with a good two or three feet between Lugo and home plate. An easy call to make, but not for Jerry Meals.

The call was made and the Braves won. Meals and his crew left the stadium and just like that the game was over. The call was so bad it would seem to be straight out of a movie as no one could make that bad of a call.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had this to say about the game:

"For the game to end that way, it's really too bad. The game deserves better than that. The game tonight deserved way better than that."

What does Jerry Meals have to say about the blown call?

"I saw the tag, but he looked like he oléd him, and I called him safe for that. 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."

Adding fuel to an already hot fire, here is what Julio Lugo had to say,

"He got the call right, I'm being honest. I didn't feel him tag me. He made the right call. I got in there." 

The longest game in Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates franchise history will now go down in the record books with a controversial finish. The Pirates are in a race for their division and this call will certainly impact that race. Hopefully the Pirates can put this behind them and rack up a few wins.

The Braves and Pirates continue their series tonight. Currently the series is tied at 1-1.

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