On July 26th, 2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves played a 19 inning game that last six hours and 39 minutes. It ended in Atlanta’s favor, ultimately because of a blown call at home plate by umpire Jerry Meals. It was the 101st game of the year for the Bucs, and their record dropped to 53-48.
Between a girl yelling “LET’S GO PIRATES” at the top of her lungs throughout the game and guys stacking cups around Turner Field, it was a crazy night indeed. Twitter was going nuts all night long. After the missed call, “#JerryMealsSaysItsSafe” surfaced on Twitter, and remained to be hashtagged for quite sometime.
As for the game, Michael McKenry launched a homer in the second, Nate McLouth and Fredi Gonzalez were ejected in the ninth, and Brian McCann left with an oblique strain in the 10th. Daniel McCutchen pitched an unreal 5.1 innings, and threw 92 pitches. The Bucs used 20 different players in the game. Andrew McCutchen went 0 for 6 but drew three walks; he saw 38 total pitches. Pedro Alvarez was 1 for 7 with four strikeouts. The starting lineup for the Pirates that night:
1. Xavier Paul, LF
2. Garrett Jones, RF
3. Neil Walker, 2B
4. Andrew McCutchen, CF
5. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
6. Lyle Overbay, 1B
7. Ronny Cedeno, SS
8. Michael McKenry, C
9. Jeff Karstens, P
With one out in the bottom of the 19th, Atlanta pitcher Scott Proctor stepped to the plate. He hit a dribbler to third, and Julio Lugo charged to the plate. McKenry applied a quick swipe tag after receiving the throw from Alvarez, and it appeared Lugo was out. He didn’t even reach home plate, but was called safe by Meals. The Pirate fans who were still awake at 1:52 in the morning (technically July 27th) were enraged.
Many people blame the second half collapse on the “Jerry Meals Game” but that’s not entirely accurate. Sure, it was a mentally and physically draining game for the Pirates, but the pitching was set to regress and they weren’t exactly built to win. Still, they were just 19-42 after July 26th.
Most believe it was one of the worst calls ever, while some think that Meals actually got the call right. Either way, it was a ridiculous finish to a hard-fought game.
Hopefully we’ll be able to erase this game from our memory, and nothing like this will happen to the Pirates again.
Braves (60-44) – Pirates (53-48)
W: Scott Proctor (2-3)
L: Daniel McCutchen (3-2)