Umpire challenges Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett had words with home plate umpire Eric Cooper on Tuesday....

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett had words with home plate umpire Eric Cooper on Tuesday. (JASON COHN/Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:35 PM ET

Here’s something you don’t see everyday: an umpire charging the mound.

Tempers rose after a controversial call during the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader between the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates.

In the sixth inning, Jon Jay swung and missed on a two-strike breaking ball from Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett, which also hit the Cards outfielder. The play should have resulted in a strikeout, but home plate umpire Eric Cooper ruled the ball hit the dirt and it was a dropped third strike, meaning the batter could make a run for first base.

As catcher Russell Martin argued the call, Jay rounded first and made it safely to second base.

“Nobody saw it. We’re all human and make mistakes,” Burnett told MLB.com. “Even if the strikeout was off his foot, you’ve got to regroup and keep making pitches one at a time. That’s what I preach to these guys all the time, so I’ve got to be able to do it. Emotions were on the line left and right.”

On the next pitch, Burnett missed the outside corner with a fastball, raised his arms in protest and shouted a few words at Cooper.

Cooper immediately started marching toward the mound, shouting words of his own at Burnett, before he was stopped by Martin.

“He’s not one to hide his emotions by any means, anywhere,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Burnett. “That’s one of the things you love about him.”




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