Rain wipes out Rockies-Pirates; split doubleheader Saturday
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Will Craig tried to find a little humor a day after his egregious fielding mistake brought the Pittsburgh Pirates rookie first baseman national notoriety.
“I guess I’m going to be on the blooper reels for the rest of my life,” Craig said Friday before the Pirates’ game with the Colorado Rockies was postponed because of rain.
The game will be made up as part of a split doubleheader Saturday with the first game starting at 12:05 p.m. and the second scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Both games will be seven innings under pandemic rules.
Craig is expected to be back in the lineup for the opener of the twin bill.
“He made a mistake and that’s it,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “You don’t option a guy (to the minor leagues) because of the fact he made a mistake. We make mistakes in all realms of life. It just happened to be something nobody’s ever seen before.”
Craig’s mental lapse in the Pirates’ 5-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday was all over television and social media.
With Willson Contreras on second base and two outs in the third inning, the Cubs’ Javier Baez hit a routine grounder to third baseman Erik Gonzalez. His throw to Craig at first was a little up the line, pulling Craig off the bag.
All Craig had to do was tag Baez or touch first for the final out of the inning.
Baez stopped running halfway up the first base line to avoid Craig and backtracked toward home plate. Craig chased him.
Meanwhile, Contreras rounded third and sprinted home. Craig attempted a flip to catcher Michael Perez, but Contreras slid under the tag while Baez took off for first. Pérez’s throw to first sailed past second baseman Adam Frazier attempting to cover the bag, allowing Baez to race to second.
If the out was recorded at first base before Baez arrived, the run would not have counted.
Craig, who gained the reputation of being an outstanding fielder in the minor leagues, owned up to his mistake talking with reporters before the Pirates played Colorado.
“It all boils down to me losing my brain for a second,” he said. “I take full responsibility for it and now will just try to keep moving forward. I know I’m a good defensive player and I can do a lot of good things on that side of the ball.”
The Pirates will enter the doubleheader on a six-game losing streak. The Rockies have lost three straight.
Rockies: SS Trevor Story (right elbow tightness) is unlikely to play in the field during the three-game series but could be available as a pinch-hitter. He will be examined by team doctors Monday in Denver after the Rockies return from their road trip. Story was injured in the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader at New York. He is eligible for free agency at the end of the season and is expected to be one of the most coveted players on the market.
Pirates: After two rehab starts in Indianapolis, RHP Chad Kuhl (right elbow discomfort) will make his next appearance in the major leagues. The Pirates have not announced a starter for Sunday’s game, so he is a possibility.
Rockies RHP Jon Gray (4-4, 3.43 ERA) will face Pirates RHP JT Brubaker (3-4, 4.20) in the first game Saturday. In the nightcap, Colorado LHP Austin Gomber (3-4, 4.56) will oppose Pittsburgh RHP Mitch Keller (2-6, 7.41).
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