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Dodgers' Chad Billingsley hindered by late mistakes

The starter holds the Pittsburgh Pirates to a run and six hits over seven innings before walking Garrett Jones and giving up a run-scoring double to Neil Walker in the eighth.

May 09, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers starting pitcher Chad Billingsley delivers a pitch against the Pirates on Monday night in Pittsburgh.
Dodgers starting pitcher Chad Billingsley delivers a pitch against the… (Jared Wickerham / Getty…)

Reporting from Pittsburgh

A laptop computer in the Dodgers' clubhouse played a video clearly showing what Juan Uribe said he saw with his own eyes: the ball he hit in the eighth inning hit the ground before it hit the webbing of Jose Tabata's glove.

"What did you see?" Uribe asked. "What did you see on the replay?"

The way Uribe and Manager Don Mattingly reacted to the blown call resulted in their ejections from the Dodgers' 4-1 defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night at PNC Field. Mattingly's ejection was his first as Dodgers manager.

Uribe and Mattingly said they thought their low-scoring team was on the verge of a long-awaited offensive breakthrough. Instead, it turned out to be a prelude to another bullpen meltdown that sent the increasingly frustrated Dodgers on their way to their seventh loss in nine games.

Had the call not been blown, the Dodgers could have had men on the corners — or, at least, first and second — with no outs of a 1-1 game. But Matt Kemp was doubled off on that play, as he had already rounded second base and was on his way to third when Tabata was ruled to have caught Uribe's line drive.

"That's why I got mad," Uribe said. "Maybe that's a double. It's the eighth inning. It can change the game."

Mattingly immediately emerged from the dugout to plead his case to third base umpire Mike DiMuro, who made the call.

"My only frustration was when Mike says that he's not 100% sure and I asked him to get help," Mattingly said. "He wouldn't do that."

DiMuro offered a slightly different version of the story.

"At the very end, he asked if I was 100% sure," DiMuro said. "I told Don, 'Who's 100% sure of anything in life?' "

Umpire crew chief Tim Welke said the reason different opinions weren't taken was because no other umpire was certain the call was wrong. Welke said that if someone else was certain, that umpire would have alerted him, with or without Mattingly's prompting.

Welke said he saw the replay and that he saw what everyone else saw: "It looked like it ended up being a trap into a light glove."

Tabata said he caught the ball — but smiled as he said that.

Mattingly retreated to the dugout, but reemerged in the middle of the eighth inning to continue pleading his case to Welke.

While Mattingly and Welke were talking, Uribe headed straight to DiMuro.

"I said, 'If you go more that way, you can see the ball better,' " Uribe said. "Then he kicked me out of the game. He said he could call whatever he wants. I said, 'OK, you can call whatever you want because nobody can say nothing to you?' "

Uribe's ejection prompted Mattingly to get reacquainted with DiMuro, who tossed him out of the game too.

The Pirates scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, as Chad Billingsley and Hong-Chih Kuo combined to give up three consecutive doubles.

For the Pirates (18-17), the victory was a significant one. The last time they were over .500 this late in the season was in 2004, when they were 23-22.

The Pirates reached the .500 mark the previous night, something the local newspaper and sports-talk radio programs made certain to highlight.

Asked whether the Los Angeles media should be as excited if the Dodgers ever hit the .500 mark, Mattingly replied, "We don't want to be a .500 club, that's for sure. I don't know what's going on here, but if that's what we end up being, I'm going to be disappointed."

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