PITTSBURGH -- Driving rain, a strong wind and incandescent flashes of lighting delayed the official conclusion of Tuesday's game between the Pirates and Cincinnati Reds. The wait was a formality. The game had been decided long before.
Poor execution on the mound and in the field led to an 11-4 loss to the Reds at PNC Park after a delay of 1 hour, 15 minutes. The Reds scored seven runs in the third inning on the way to giving the Pirates their third loss in a row.
Though neither video review had much of a bearing on the blowout, two separate crew chief reviews concerning Rule 7.13, the new provision governing collisions at home plate, brought the gray areas of the rule into stark relief.
The Pirates' problems began with Edinson Volquez, who needed 64 pitches to record seven outs and allowed eight runs on six hits. He walked three batters, hit one and threw two wild pitches, one that allowed a run to score and another that put a runner on third. That runner would later score on a sacrifice fly.
Volquez's outing was his shortest start of the season and followed seven scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs in his previous start.
In addition to the wild pitches, a throw went to the wrong base and nobody fielded another throw, allowing a runner to advance.
Twelve Reds batters used seven hits, a walk, a hit batter and a wild pitch to score seven runs in the third inning. Todd Frazier and Joey Votto singled with one out, but Andrew McCutchen threw to third base after Votto's single rather than second, allowing Votto to move into scoring position. Volquez threw a wild pitch that bounced off the backstop right to Martin and it looked like the Pirates might have a play on Frazier, but Volquez didn't reach the plate in time.
Brandon Phillips doubled. A walk and a hit batter later, the bases were loaded. Two RBI singles after that, Volquez was done and Stolmy Pimentel replaced him, just in time for the replay theatrics.
Rule 7.13, adopted in spring training to eliminate violent collisions between catchers and baserunners, prohibits the catcher from blocking the runner's path to the plate unless he has the ball and the runner from intentionally bowling over a catcher in an attempt to dislodge the ball.
Reds starter Alfredo Simon bounced a slow roller to Pimentel's right. Pimentel fielded it and threw home to Martin, who had his right foot on the plate to record the force-out because the bases were loaded. Devin Mesoraco slid into Martin's foot, but home plate umpire Mike DiMuro called him out.
Rule 7.13 prohibits the catcher from blocking the runner's path to the plate unless he has the ball. Martin, who had to tag the plate to force out the runner because the bases were loaded, had his foot atop the plate.
The issue arose again when Pedro Alvarez doubled to center in the fifth. Gregory Polanco singled -- giving him a hit in each of his first eight games -- and Alvarez tried to score. Mesoraco's left foot blocked Alvarez's path to the plate, so Alvarez slid around it, and DiMuro ruled him out.
Layne initiated another review, and though the umpires in the replay command center decided Mesoraco didn't block the plate, they ruled Alvarez safe because his left hand hit the plate before the tag.
The blowout reached the point where outfielder Travis Snider entered to pitch and faced Reds reliever J.J. Hoover in Hoover's first major league plate appearance. Snider allowed two runs but struck out Joey Votto to end the top of the ninth.
Andrew McCutchen left the game after the sixth inning without a hit, meaning his streak ended at 12 consecutive games.
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