CINCINNATI -- Ultimately, all that mattered for the Reds was that they had a 3-2 victory in hand over the Pirates because offseason acquisition Marlon Byrd delivered a walk-off win. But Byrd and the club certainly wouldn't mind him also being credited with an RBI and perhaps a hit, too.
Facing the Pirates with runners on the corners in the bottom of the ninth, Byrd hit a liner to right field. Although playing shallow, Gregory Polanco made a good move to reach the ball in time, but he made a critical mistake. Not only did Polanco not glove the ball and let it drop in, he gave up on the play. It allowed Todd Frazier to score the game-winning run without a throw, while Byrd was celebrated as the day's hero.
"I think it was sinking in on him," Byrd said. "It's tough when you're an outfielder playing that close. You're trying to judge the ball. I think he was trying to come up with the ball and make the throw as soon as possible. It just dropped on him."
The official scorer ruled the play an error on Polanco with no RBI and an unearned run for pitcher Rob Scahill. Byrd will likely appeal the ruling with Major League Baseball.
"If it's not a hit, then it's a sac fly," Byrd said. "Who's to judge to say it's an error and not an RBI? I don't see how you can call it that."
"I felt really good for him," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Once we get that overturned from an error to a hit, I'll feel a lot better about it."
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle felt like there could have been a play at the plate, anyway.
"If he catches the ball, the runner can't score. What he doesn't know, the runner broke and had to scurry back, so even once the ball was missed, if he gets to the ball and picks it up, there might still be a play," Hurdle said.
Before his final at-bat on Thursday, Byrd was 2-for-12 with six strikeouts. He was one of the team's better hitters in Spring Training, when he batted .327.
"It was a tough couple of days with the rain, my at-bats and everything," Byrd said. "We've been grinding it out. Joey [Votto] has been carrying us a couple of games. It was nice to get a win."
Price put little stock in Byrd's early numbers. The Reds acquired him in a Dec. 31 trade from the Phillies to boost and deepen a lineup that struggled offensively last season.
"He's fine," Price said. "It's three games. You look at these stretches in short periods, and you can make anybody look like [the] king of the world or scuffling."
Cincinnati is off to a 3-0 start after sweeping the Pirates. Thursday's day game came on the heels of a late night at the ballpark. A two-hour, 34-minute rain delay on Wednesday followed by an 11-inning game that ended not long before 2 a.m. meant a quick turnaround.
"Wins always energize teams," Byrd said. "It's always positive after a 'W,' instead of the negatives. As long we get wins, it's easy to sleep five hours, four hours, whatever. It's doesn't matter."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.