Play at plate looms large as Bucs strand 14

Harrison thrown out on eighth-inning dash, call confirmed after Pirates challenge

Play at plate looms large as Bucs strand 14

CINCINNATI -- The Pirates left 14 men on base in Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Reds. They went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position, and that one hit didn't drive in a run -- but it was perhaps their most frustrating missed opportunity.

With the game tied, two runners on and two outs in the eighth inning, John Jaso knocked a single to left field off Reds reliever Jumbo Diaz. Josh Harrison rounded third and slid home, but Adam Duvall's throw reached Devin Mesoraco in time for the catcher to tag out Harrison.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle challenged the call, which was confirmed after replay review.

• Rule 7.13 explained

The replay official in New York determined that Mesoraco tagged out Harrison before his foot touched the plate and that Mesoraco didn't violate Rule 7.13, which governs home-plate collisions.

"I think, because the distance of the throw was so long, that Devin really couldn't have been accused of blocking the plate inappropriately," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "The throw took him into the line. ... Once he has the ball, he can be wherever he wants. The baserunner, if he's coming towards home plate, can go through him to get to the plate in any fashion that he would like for the most part."

Harrison was confused by the ruling. With Mesoraco initially set up in front of the plate, Harrison thought as he rounded third about sliding behind the plate and sneaking his hand in to score the go-ahead run.

But Duvall's throw took Mesoraco behind the plate, eliminating the lane Harrison had planned on sliding through. Having been involved in two home-plate collisions before, Harrison slightly adjusted his path, tried to slide inside and wound up getting tagged out.

"I just know at the last minute, I had nowhere to go," Harrison said. "My view is it's still a gray area on the home-plate rule. We don't know what it is. You just go and whatever they call, it's going to be challenged. What they call is what they call.

"I think we still need a definition on what a lane is. If I wouldn't have veered, I would have slid right into his shin guard and probably broken my ankle."

The next inning, the Reds broke the tie on Jay Bruce's walk-off triple, and the Pirates could only look back on their missed chances, particularly that one.

"At the end of the day, I was called out. Great throw. But I don't have much as far as the rule," Harrison said. "I've been on both sides, and I understand the severity of the play. But if they're going to change the rule, they've got to let us know what exactly is a lane and what isn't.

"Game's over. We had our chances. We've got to come back tomorrow."

Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.