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Pirates peeved by safe call on Cubs' walk-off: 'MLB made a mistake'

Adam Hunger / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Pittsburgh Pirates were walked off by the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, but they feel like they should still be playing.

Manager Derek Shelton and multiple Pirates players took issue with home-plate umpire Chris Conroy's safe call on Cubs third baseman Christopher Morel's game-winning single. Cody Bellinger was ruled on the field to have successfully slid home and the call was upheld after a review to give the Cubs a 1-0 victory.

The Pirates were insistent, however, that Joey Bart tagged Bellinger before the ball popped out of his glove. Bellinger appeared to knock the ball loose as he slid through home.

"I don't think he (Bellinger) did it intentionally, but you can see (Bart) had a firm grip of the ball until Bellinger made contact," center fielder Michael A. Taylor - whose 101.3-mph throw home on the play was the hardest by any outfielder this year - said postgame, according to Alex Stumpf of "In my eyes, he was out right there and MLB made a mistake."

"I'm not a guy that lives for excuses ever, but if I was in the wrong there, I'd stand right here and tell you, you know what I mean?" Bart said. "I felt like I did the best I could to make that play. Michael made a hell of a throw and we just didn't get the benefit of the doubt."

Shelton concurred with his players' assessment as he broke down the play for reporters, stating Bart presented the ball to Conroy as evidence of the tag when it was dislodged.

"My interpretation is that Joey presented the ball," Shelton said, per SportsNet Pittsburgh. "And I mean, there's another runner on base, so he's presenting the ball to show the umpire that (Bellinger's) out. So you see him secure, you see tag, you see him take the ball out, and then there's contact with Bellinger. The way, again, I see it is, that's voluntary that he's taking the ball out, and that it's a tag."

Pittsburgh has now dropped seven of its last 11 contests and sits 6.5 games back of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

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