League admits mistake in Braves' win

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THE GAME

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Atlanta's Julio Lugo was called safe by home plate umpire Jerry Meals in the bottom of the 19th inning after Meals said Pirates catcher Michael McKenry missed the tag early Wednesday. Meals, a 14-year veteran, later acknowledged he missed the call.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Atlanta's Julio Lugo was called safe by home plate umpire Jerry Meals in the bottom of the 19th inning after Meals said Pirates catcher Michael McKenry missed the tag early Wednesday. Meals, a 14-year veteran, later acknowledged he missed the call.

Julio Lugo scored from third base on a contested play at the plate, giving Atlanta a 4-3 win in 19 innings over Pittsburgh after almost 7 hours of baseball.

Lugo took off on Scott Proctor's grounder to third baseman Pedro Alvarez, whose throw to catcher Michael McKenry easily beat Lugo to the plate.

Lugo tried to avoid McKenry's tag with a pop-up slide. Replays indicated McKenry made the tag, but home plate umpire Jerry Meals called Lugo safe.

The game, which ended at 1:50 a.m., was the longest in Turner Field history and matched the longest in the major leagues this season. At 6 hours, 39 minutes, it was the longest by time for both teams.

The Pirates' previous longest game was 6:12 at San Diego on Aug. 25, 1979. The Braves' previous longest game by time was 6:10 against the Mets on July 4, 1985, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

In all, 41 players were used; 15 pitchers threw 609 pitches and the teams combined for 33 strikeouts.

WHAT THEY SAID

- "I didn't feel the tag," Lugo said. "He made the right call. I got in there."

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

- "The game tonight deserved way better than that," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

THE AFTERMATH

Major League Baseball and Meals agree Meals made the wrong call early Wednesday.

The Pirates filed a formal complaint hours after game, and MLB executive vice president for baseball operations Joe Torre said it appeared Meals missed the call.

Later Wednesday, Meals said he saw in his review of the play that Lugo's pants moved slightly when tagged. Meals said that showed him he missed the call.

"After coming into the locker room, I reviewed the incident through our videos that we have in here and after seeing a few of them, on one particular replay, I was able to see that Lugo's pant leg moved ever so slightly when the swipe tag was attempted by McKenry," Meals said.

"That's telling me that I was incorrect in my decision and that he should have been ruled out and not safe."

Torre said he spoke to Meals and "no one feels worse than him."


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