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March 31, 2014

Pirates Notebook| Cubs first to try out new replay

PITTSBURGH — Add “first use of the new replay challenge system” to the list of Major League Baseball firsts to happen in Pittsburgh.

The new system’s debut, which happened in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs on Monday at PNC Park, had an innocent enough start when a sacrifice-bunt attempt by Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija with no outs in the fifth was fielded by Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano.

Liriano fired a throw to third baseman Pedro Alvarez to cut down Nate Schierholtz, who was coming from second. Alvarez’s throw to Neil Walker, who was covering first, appeared to beat Samardzija.

Cubs manager Rick Renteria challenged the call of umpire Bob Davidson’s at first.

Roughly two minutes later, umpires at MLB’s replay command fortress verified the initial call.

Liriano, who fanned 10 batters, coaxed a groundout by Emilio Bonifacio to end the inning.

Pittsburgh benefitted from an overturned call in the 10th when Bonifacio, who slapped a one-out single to left to reach base, was initially ruled safe on a pickoff try from Pittsburgh reliever Bryan Morris.

This time, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle challenged the play, which was overturned.

The process delayed the game for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Junior Lake struck out to end the inning.

As Hurdle explained, the process isn’t quite a snap decision.

“I do know there’s no need to go busting out of the dugout,” Hurdle said. “You give it some time. Your guy’s working on it. I was moving out of the dugout when we got the call today. Time will tell.”

Walker, who recorded the upheld challenge out in the fifth, sees the benefits of the new system.

“It was getting the play right,” Walker said. “That could have been the change in the game with something happening on the opposite side of things ... They got the call right, which was just.”

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