Sabathia tosses one-hitter vs. Bucs
Infield single in the fifth the only blemish for southpaw
PITTSBURGH -- Manager Ned Yost called it a joke.
Third baseman Bill Hall said it wasn't even close.
And pitcher CC Sabathia admitted that he should have had it.
The "it" that everyone in the Brewers' clubhouse was fuming about after their 7-0 win over the Pirates on Sunday was simply a fifth-inning single.
But according to the Brewers, it will go down as one of the biggest blown calls in franchise history.
The score was 1-0 in Milwaukee's favor after 4 1/2 innings on Sunday and Sabathia had retired every Pirates hitter but one (a second-inning walk to Brandon Moss) up to that point.
The first batter for the Pirates in the fifth was Andy LaRoche.
"It was 2-2 and it was the first slider I'd seen all day," the Pirates third baseman said. "I was sitting changeup and saw a slider, so I tried to check swing and just got it on the ground and tried to run as hard as I could hoping to make something happen."
The ball went rolling down the third-base line and Sabathia couldn't field it cleanly, allowing LaRoche to reach base with the Pirates' first and only hit of the game.
"It was a spinning ball," official scorer Bob Webb said immediately after the conclusion of the game. "It's to the right of a left-handed pitcher. In my view from the beginning of the play, it's not an ordinary play to make.
"It is difficult both because of the spin and because he has to make the play and turn completely around, and the runner was well down the line. It would have been a very difficult play to make. In my view, it was a hit as a result of those factors."
The Brewers' reaction?
"That's a stinkin' no-hitter that we all got cheated from," Yost said. "I feel horrible for CC."
"I think 29 out of 30 scorekeepers would have called that an error right now," left fielder Ryan Braun said. "I thought it was definitely a no-hitter."
It would have been the second no-hitter in Brewers' history. Juan Nieves is the only Brewer to accomplish the feat. He did so on April 15, 1987. Ironically, the Brewers beat the Orioles that day, 7-0.
The Brewers sent a DVD and a written explanation to Major League Baseball's senior vice president of club relations Phyllis Merhige and the Commissioner's Office to appeal the call. The information was to be sent immediately after the game, Brewers media relations manager John Steinmiller said.
"It is what it is," Sabathia said. "I probably should have picked it up with my glove or we probably wouldn't be having this conversation right now."
"It's just sad," Yost said. "It really is sad. That was not even close. There's no reasoning for that. Whatever the reasoning was is not sufficient in anybody's mind. If you know baseball at all, that's a play that has to be made. And that's a play that can be made very simply. He rushed it. [If Sabathia] picks that ball up he throws him out by 10 feet."
Call or no call, the Brewers left Pittsburgh with their heads held high. The win gave them a three-game sweep, and it was their eighth victory in the last 10 games. They finished August tied with the most wins in a month in franchise history with 20.
Sabathia, who improved to 9-0 with the Brewers, has now won a career-high 12 consecutive decisions over his past 16 starts -- a streak that began on June 10. He struck out 11 batters for fourth time this season.
The American League 2007 Cy Young Award winner also had made a defensive gem Sunday. In the fourth inning, Sabathia barehanded a soft liner off the bat of Nate McLouth and threw to first to complete a 1-3 double play.
As for the offense, Rickie Weeks got the Brewers on the board with a solo shot in the first. Pirates starter Jeff Karstens, who went 6 1/3 innings and surrendered only three runs, threw the Brewers second baseman five straight fastballs before Weeks sent the sixth heater to the bleachers in left field for his 11th home run of the year.
Sabathia got additional run support in the seventh and eighth. Corey Hart hit a ground-rule double down the third-base line and Gabe Kapler walked before Bill Hall doubled in both runners with a liner to right-center.
In the eighth, the Brewers scored four runs on a wild pitch by Bucs reliever Sean Burnett and RBI hits by Kapler and Prince Fielder.
Yost chose not to focus on his offense after the game.
"Whoever the scorekeeper was absolutely denied Major League Baseball a nice no-hitter right there," he said. "They put hit up on that board before [LaRoche] even hit the bag.
"It's fun to be a manager one time [to] tell my grandkids, 'Hey, I was there when CC threw a no-hitter.' He was phenomenal. He's just great."
Sabathia was a little less animated than his manager.
"We swept the series," Sabathia said. "I think that's the biggest thing and most important thing out of today. If they change it, they change it. If they don't, they don't. I'll be fine either way."
Todd Krise is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.