Pirates will not attend grievance hearing Wednesday

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HOUSTON — The Pirates will not act as witnesses tomorrow when arbitrator Shyam Das begins hearing arguments in a grievance field by the players’ union against Major League Baseball.

Neither Pirates president Frank Coonelly nor general manager Neal Huntington will be in New York for the meeting with Das. However, both expect to be called as witnesses when the hearing continues later this month.

It may take several meetings, spread out over weeks or even months, before Das issues a decision.

“The information we’re getting is, if it goes to hearing tomorrow, it could take a while,” Huntington, who is in Houston with the team, said Tuesday afternoon. “There’s a lot of information to be reviews, a lot of people to talk with.”

Lineups for tonight’s game:

PIRATES — McLouth CF, Sanchez 2B, Doumit C, Adam LaRoche 1B, Michaels LF, Pearce RF, Andy LaRoche 3B, Bixler SS, Ohlendorf (0-0, 4.50) RHP

ASTROS — Bourn CF, Erstad LF, Tejada SS, Berkman 1B, Blum 3B, Pence RF, Newhan 2B, Quintero C, Wolf (9-11, 4.47) LHP

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Wilson out with broken finger

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HOUSTON — Jack Wilson has a hairline fracture in his right index finger and probably is done for the year.

Wilson was injured nine days ago while trying to field a ground ball. X-rays initially did not show any damage, but a break was detected when he was re-examined Sunday.

If the injury heals quickly, there’s a chance Wilson could pinch-hit in the final week of the season. But playing the field would be too risky, so he’s shut down as an everyday player until next year.

Center fielder Nate McLouth is back in the lineup a day after getting six stitches to close a gash above his left eye. The ball bounced and bash McLouth on the forehead as he tried to make a diving catch. McLouth has a large bump and a black eye.

“It looks like he was in a fight, but he wants to play,” manager John Russell said.

Lineups for tonight’s game:

PIRATES — Morgan LF, Sanchez 2B, McLouth CF, Doumit C, Adam LaRoche 1B, Moss RF, Andy LaRoche 3B, Cruz SS, Snell (6-10, 5.59) RHP

ASTROS — Bourn CF, Erstad LF, Tejada SS, Berkman 1B, Blum 3B, Pence RF, Newhan 2B, Towles C, Arias (0-0, 2.63) RHP

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Part of the game?

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SAN FRANCISCO — Five batters were hit by pitches this afternoon at AT&T Park. The first four were Pirates.

So, which team’s pitcher was on the receiving end of a warning from home plate umpire Angel Campos?

If you said the Pirates, you get a gold star.

Craig Hansen, who’s control has been erratic at best since joining the Pirates, was wild again today. With two outs in the eighth inning, with the Pirates trailing 11-6, Hansen came up high with a pitch and then nailed Nate Schierholtz near the shoulder blades.

As Schierholtz trotted to first base, Campos immediately warned both benches.

“You don’t know (for sure), but two right there … you know it’s intentional,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said

It was the first batter Hansen had hit in 11 1/3 innings with the Pirates, though he has issued 14 walks.

The Giants used seven pitchers in the game. Three of them hit batters.

Nate McLouth got it on his right pinky finger. Doug Mientkiewicz was nipped on the leg. Brian Bixler took one off his batting helmet, near his left ear. Steve Pearce had a fastball graze his jersey.

The four players were bruised, but otherwise fine after the game. Still, it was a scary moment when the ball thunked off Pearce’s head.

“We’re not trying to hit anybody,” Bochy said. “It was unfortunate someone got it in the head, but, hey, it’s part of the game. We certainly were a bit wild today.”

After Hansen plunked Schierholtz, both teams watched the rest of the inning perched on the top step of their respective dugouts. There was the palpable sense that one inside pitch would spark a brawl.

It never happened.

But perhaps is something had happened sooner — if, say, a Giants batter had been hit in the inning after Pearce’s close call — things would have turned out differently.

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McLouth leaves game with cut over eye

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SAN FRANCISCO — Pirates center fielder Nate McLouth left today’s game against the San Francisco Giants with a cut over his left eyebrow.

With the bases loaded and none out in the fourth inning, San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval hit a blooper to center field. As McLouth tried to make a diving catch, the ball bounced and hit McLouth near his left eye.

The sunglasses McLouth were wearing shattered upon impact. The ball caromed off McLouth’s face and rolled into left field. McLouth lay on the ground until assisted by assistant athletic trainer Mike Sandoval. A towel covering his face, McLouth was helped off the field.

McLouth needed stitches to close the wound. His status is day to day.

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McLouth leaves game with injury

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SAN FRANCISCO — Pirates center fielder Nate McLouth left today’s game against the San Francisco Giants with an apparent injury to his left eye.

With the bases loaded and none out in the fourth inning, San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval hit a blooper to center field. As McLouth tried to make a diving catch, the ball bounced and hit McLouth near his left eye.

The sunglasses McLouth were wearing shattered upon impact. The ball caromed off McLouth’s face and rolled into left field. McLouth lay on the ground until assisted by assistant athletic trainer Mike Sandoval. He was helped off the field with a towel covering his face.

There was no immediate word on McLouth’s condition.

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Diaz makes his debut

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SAN FRANCISCO — Catcher Robinzon Dias went hitless in one game for the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this season. This afternoon, he will make his first appearance as the Pirates’ catcher. Diaz, 24, arrived in the Jose Bautista trade.

Diaz had a sit-down with bench coach Gary Varsho to go over the Giants’ hitters and get familiar with the Pirates’ signs. Diaz is not worried about making the transition to a new team. “It’s not difficult (to fit in) right away, as long as you have good communication with the pitcher,” Diaz said.

Lineups for today’s game:

GIANTS — Winn CF, Burriss SS, Schierholtz RF, Sandoval C, McClain 3B, Lewis LF, Ishikawa 1B, Velez 2B, Sanchez (8-10, 4.50) LHP

PIRATES — McLouth CF, Sanchez 2B, Mientkiewicz 1B, Michaels LF, Andy LaRoche 3B, Diaz C, Bixler SS, Karstens (2-4, 3.62) RHP

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This time, replay would have helped

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SAN FRANCISCO — I’m not really much of a replay guy, at least not in baseball.

I like the element of human error. And with four umps on the field, it shouldn’t be that hard to get a call right. And sometimes even a video replay is not conclusive. So, why tinker with tradition?

And yet, I have to admit that tonight there was a play in the Pirates-Giants game where replay would have been the perfect antidote to a blown call.

In the fourth inning, Bengie Molina and Scott McClain singled, putting runners on first and second with none out. Aaron Rowand hit a hard liner to shortstop Luis Cruz, who jumped and knocked the ball down.

Molina retreated to second base a moment before McClain also arrived there. Cruz tossed the ball to second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who caught it and stepped on the bag. Then Sanchez tagged Molina, who was standing on second.

Second base umpire Tom Hallion called both Molina and McClain out. Rowand reached first on a fielder’s choice. Hallion’s decision was based on Rule 7.08e, which involves force plays.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy briefly argued the call. Bochy suggested Cruz had intentionally dropped the ball. Hallion stood his ground and Bochy went back to the dugout.

“They both can’t be out there,” Bochy said later. “(Hallion) said he got it right. That’s what he told me. He also said he didn’t think (Cruz) intentionally dropped it and that’s his judgment call.”

After the game, however, Hallion looked at a replay — and admitted he blew the call.

“What the correct call should have been is, Bengie should have been allowed to stay on second,” Hallion said. “Because when the second baseman received the throw, Bengie was standing on second base, which removes the force play. The guy on first (McClain) is out, OK? But Bengie, because the force is removed, should have not been called out.”

But, Hallion said, since Bochy argued only that Cruz had intentionally dropped the ball, the ump did not consider the lack of a force play.

“If Bruce had come out and said, ‘Tom, he’s on second and that removes the force,’ I would have gotten all four (umps) together (to discuss it),” Hallion said.

Sounds to me like Hallion is passing the buck. It’s not Bochy’s job to enforce the rules or decide if the correct call was made; it’s Hallion’s. He should have huddled with the three other umpires, just to double-check what he’d called.

The mistake worked to the Pirates’ advantage. The next batter singled, which probably would have scored Molina, if he had been allowed to stay at second base.

The instant replay system adopted recently by MLB would not have applied to this situation. It’s meant to judge fair or foul balls, home runs or loud strikes/ground-rule doubles.

But it would not have been a bad thing if Hallion could have looked at a replay right away to check himself, and then corrected his error.

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Bucs rule the Giants

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Pirates have won 14 of their past 16 games against the Giants, including the past seven in a row here at AT&T Park. In that 16-game span, the Pirates’ team ERA is 3.04.

Tonight, Paul Maholm will be gunning for the Pirates’ third straight shutout at AT&T. Zach Duke blanked the Giants last night, and Tom Gorzelanny did it Aug. 12, 2007.

Lineups for today’s game:

GIANTS — Winn LF, Ochoa 2B, Aurilia 3B, Molina C, McClain 1B, Rowand CF, Schierholtz RF, Burriss SS, Cain (8-11, 3.69) RHP

PIRATES — Morgan LF, Sanchez 2B, McLouth CF, Doumit C, Adam LaRoche 1B, Moss RF, Andy LaRoche 3B, Cruz SS, Maholm (8-8, 3.81) LHP

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A streak snapped, and another sac

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SAN FRANCISCO — Ryan Doumit flied out in the ninth inning tonight, ending his streak of seven at-bats with a hit.

Later in the inning, though, Brandon Moss’s fly ball to center drove in Nate McLouth from third base. It was the Pirates’ fourth sacrifice fly in the game, equaling their franchise record (1988, 2007).

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Doumit’s hit parade

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SAN FRANCISCO — A minute ago, Ryan Doumit dropped a single into left field, making him 4 for 4 in tonight’s game against the Giants.

That extends Doumit’s hit streak to seven at-bats, going back to Wednesday’s game against the Reds. Doumit is the first Pirates player to do it since Freddy Sanchez in May 2006.

Doumit’s run began with a fourth-inning, RBI double off Edinson Volquez. He followed that with an RBI single and back-to-back walks (plate appearances, but not official at-bats). Yesterday, he had a pinch-hit, infield single in the ninth inning. Tonight, Doumit has doubled, singled three times and scored two runs.

The Pirates lead, 5-0, in the seventh inning. Doumit is in line to get to the plate at least one more time tonight.

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