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Pirates split challenges in tight loss to Brewers

Walker called out at plate in first inning; Marte safe at second in ninth

PITTSBURGH -- A ninth-inning review went in the Pirates' favor after Starling Marte was originally ruled out after attempting to steal second base. Pittsburgh challenged the call, which was eventually overturned.

With the Bucs down a run, Marte drew a walk with one out and took off for second against Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez. Marte and the throw from catcher Jonathan Lucroy arrived almost simultaneously, but Marte sneaked his hand in before shortstop Jean Segura applied the tag.

It was the second review of the game after a close call on a play at the plate in the first inning.

With one out and runners at the corners, Pittsburgh's Gaby Sanchez flied to right fielder Ryan Braun, whose throw to Lucroy was on time to tag out Neil Walker. The review was initiated by the crew chief to determine whether home plate was blocked illegally, but the original call stood and the Pirates were kept off the board.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle questioned the out call itself, but was careful to challenge the play's plate-obstruction aspect.

"That makes it a free challenge," Hurdle said. "When you challenge obstruction, they're going to look for that but also follow the play. As opposed to challenging the call and if you're wrong, you lose the challenge."

Thus, the Pirates still had their challenge for the ninth-inning call on Marte -- that being issued by bench coach Jeff Banister, the acting manager upon Hurdle's eighth-inning ejection.

"We gave it our best shot, but got nowhere on both counts," Hurdle said.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.
Read More: Pittsburgh Pirates, Starling Marte, Neil Walker, Ryan Braun