CINCINNATI -- Adam Dunn's booming sixth-inning home run, which was literally driven away from Great American Ball Park, created some big conversation Thursday night. However, it was Dunn's eighth-inning at-bat that sparked a conversation among umpires. It proved to be the last word in the Reds' bizarre 6-5 series-opening victory over the Pirates before 13,887 rain-braving fans.
During a 5-5 tie with two outs in the eighth and runners on first and second, Dunn hit a tailing line drive to shallow left-center field off Mike Gonzalez (0-1). Sprinting in to his right and diving to make a play, Pittsburgh center fielder Chris Duffy trapped the ball on a short hop. Running all the way, Chris Denorfia and Felipe Lopez scored. Third-base umpire Bruce Dreckman ruled that Duffy made the catch for the third out. Reds manager Jerry Narron immediately argued the call, as the Pirates' defense left the field. Reds reliever Todd Coffey was already sprinting in from the bullpen prepared to start the ninth. Not so fast. "It was clear to see that the ball was trapped," said Lopez, who was 3-for-3 in the game with a sacrifice bunt. "I saw it, that's why I kept on running." All four umpires held a conference about the play, at the edge of the infield. Meanwhile, Dunn never ventured off of first base. "That's one of the best crews out there," Dunn said. "When I saw them huddle, I knew they were going to get it right." And they did. First-base umpire and crew chief Gary Darling overturned Dreckman's decision and Pittsburgh was ordered back on the field. Dunn was credited with what would be the game-winning RBI single, which scored Denorfia. Lopez was sent back to third base, and Narron told Coffey to run back to the bullpen. "I would have died if they didn't [reverse it]," Narron said. "You could see it from the dugout that the ball bounced. I'm just glad they got it right." "Larry [Poncino, the umpire at second base] and I saw it differently, so we got together and flipped it and got it right," Darling said after the game. "We're trained for everybody to watch the ball even though there are other responsibilities." Pirates manager Jim Tracy promptly argued the reversal and was ejected moments later. He later accepted the play's outcome as being correct. "They huddled up. They got it right," Tracy said. "That's the bottom line." The RBI knock let Reds reliever Rick White (1-0) off the hook. With a 5-3 lead in the top of the eighth, White allowed Ryan Doumit's two-run homer to right field that tied the game. When it really was time for the ninth inning, David Weathers retired Pittsburgh in order for his second save. Cincinnati originally had a two-run lead thanks to Dunn. With two outs in the sixth and a one-run lead, the left fielder tattooed a drive that split through the decorative smoke stacks well beyond the right-center-field wall. They are aptly known as the "Power Stacks." "I wish it would have just gotten three runs for us, since it went through the goal posts," Narron joked. The ball, conservatively estimated to have traveled 479 feet, bounced off the stadium concourse and onto Mehring Way -- the street just outside of the ballpark. It was the fourth-longest homer on record in the ballpark's brief history. Witnesses said the baseball hit a moving car on the street. "I ain't paying," Dunn joked when reporters told him about the ball. Then he learned he inadvertently turned the stadium into a drive-thru souvenir stand. Someone from the struck car reportedly hopped out and snagged the ball before driving off. "Perfect. We're even," Dunn responded. And that was the last word of that conversation, too.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.