CHICAGO -- Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle made a curious move in not challenging a fourth-inning play at the plate involving Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro in the Pirates' eventual 5-4 victory on Thursday afternoon.
With two outs and Castro on second base, catcher Welington Castillo singled to left field, where Starling Marte came up throwing. The ball beat Castro to the plate as catcher Tony Sanchez was sitting on top of it, but, according to plate umpire Mark Carlson, he didn’t apply the tag in time.
"His foot touched the plate before the catcher had possession and control of the ball," Carlson said after the game.
It was close enough that Hurdle could have asked for a replay challenge, as that run made the score 4-0 in favor of the Cubs.
"I chose not to challenge," Hurdle said.
He was asked why not.
"Because I chose not to challenge," he reiterated. "If I give you any other answer, we [have] 10 more questions."
There was some speculation that the Pirates would have lost a challenge anyway because Sanchez could have been called for the new obstruction rule since he might have been blocking the plate before he had the ball. But that wasn’t the case.
"I didn't have him violating any rules for the collision play," Carlson said.
The ball clearly beat Castro to the plate. At that point, the catcher can block the plate or stand wherever he wants.
"If he has the ball securely, he would have been able to block the plate," the umpire said.
Replays were inconclusive because Sanchez might have bobbled the ball as Castro slid in, but Hurdle chose not to review it anyway.