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Instant success for Pirates in replay challenge

| Monday, March 31, 2014, 7:09 p.m.

Cubs manager Rick Renteria lost the first regular-season instant replay challenge in MLB history when an out call at first base was upheld for a double play in the fifth inning on Monday at PNC Park.

Then, in the 10th inning, the Pirates had a call reversed in their favor after Emilio Bonifacio was initially ruled safe at first after a pick-off attempt by Bryan Morris. Manager Clint Hurdle walked onto the field to discuss the call, crew chief John Hirschbeck went to the headset that connects to the replay command center in New York and the official there ruled Bonifacio out.

Junior Lake struck out swinging to end the top of the inning, and the Pirates won the game in the bottom of the 10th on a walk-off home run by Neil Walker.

“The idea is to get them all right, but that's why replay's there,” Hirschbeck said. “One stayed right, and the other got switched to become right, so that's the idea of it. That's what everybody wants.”

With runners on first and second and no outs in the fifth inning, Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija bunted, and Francisco Liriano threw to Pedro Alvarez to get Nate Schierholtz at third. Alvarez threw to Walker, who was covering first, trying for the double play. It was close, but first base umpire Bob Davidson called Samardzija out.

Samardzija thought he was safe, and Renteria said based on what the Cubs saw in the dugout, they did too.

“We already were in the fifth inning,” Renteria said. “If he's safe, we're first and second, so I thought it was time to give ourselves the opportunity to get a call.”

Renteria said he couldn't really make out the play in the 10th.

“I'm still trying to figure out what the ‘clear and convincing evidence' is supposed to be,” he said. “It's a work in progress. They have a lot of people looking at those videos in New York, so they must get it right.”

The first review took about 90 seconds; the second 2 12 minutes.

The 30 MLB teams voted unanimously to approve the expansion of instant replay in January. Managers have one challenge per game. If the call is overturned, they can use one more, but no more than two per game. After the beginning of the seventh inning, the crew chief may choose to have a call reviewed.

“It's a transition that we'll continue to work on,” Hurdle said. “You gain new experience with it. It's all new for everyone. I think we are trying (to see) how to use it properly and efficiently to enhance the game.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at kprice@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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