Replay foils Pirates' outfielder Josh Harrison in 5-2 loss to Nationals

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

He had already made a few spectacular catches in the series with Washington in PNC Park, so everyone just believed that Pirates' outfielder Josh Harrison had done it again in the 7th inning on Sunday when he appeared to rob Nats' SS Ian Desmond...

Pittsburgh Pirates' right fielder Josh Harrison caught just about everything hit his way this weekend with the notable exceptions being Anthony Rendon's RBI triple in the fifth and Ian Desmond's run-scoring single in the seventh inning of Sunday's series finale in PNC Park, which was the only game of four the Washington Nationals won this weekend.

Harrison homered on Sunday though, taking Nats' right-hander Doug Fister deep in the first at bat of the sixth for one of the two runs the Pirates scored in the 5-2 loss.

Pittsburgh's 26-year-outfielder ended the series 5 for 16 with a home run and several nice catches.

Harrison "Superman'd" a Wilson Ramos' line drive to right in the sixth inning of Thursday night's game:


On Friday night, the Bucs' right fielder pulled a potential game-tying, two-out, ninth-inning liner down in front of the out-of-town scoreboard in right to rob Ian Desmond of extra bases and keep Anthony Rendon from scoring in what ended up a 4-3 win:


Nationals' skipper Matt Williams was asked if he thought Desmond tied the game up with this opposite field shot to right, but he said he had a hard time seeing what was going on in the corner from the first base dugout.

"I don't know if he's on the wall or not," Williams explained. "He jumped, but I don't know where it was, I haven't looked at it yet."

Harrison pulled that one down cleanly in front of the wall for a game-ending catch.

With all the athletic plays he did make and the effort he put in going all out but coming up short on Anthony Rendon's triple, no one in PNC Park batted an eye or acted surprised after Harrison sprinted to right field corner late in Sunday's game when Desmond once again went the other way for what looked like an RBI hit if not a run-scoring double...


Harrison tracked it though and dove at the corner where the outfield grass meets the warning track in the right field corner and he had the ball in his glove when he landed.

"I'm standing in the dugout, he went down and kind of down in the corner, and when he dives I see the ball go in his glove..." -Matt Williams on Josh Harrison's attempted catch in RF Sunday

But he lost it.

On the replay, it was evident that he landed hard with the ball in his glove and came up showing it to the ump with his bare right hand. He almost fooled the umpires. Williams' view of the play was once again obstructed.

"I couldn't see it," he told reporters after Sunday's game. "I'm standing in the dugout, he went down and kind of down in the corner, and when he dives I see the ball go in his glove, but that's all I can see, I didn't see it come out. So we called up to our replay guys and they said to challenge it so we decided to. It's hard to see from that dugout though."

Harrison faked it well. But he didn't make the catch. The murmur that rose from the packed house of 38,047 fans in PNC when the replay showed on the stadium scoreboard was much different than the usual exultant reaction that follows when it goes the home team's way.

"New York places them. So the guys in NY place the runners, they told them to place them at first and second, so that decision was already made..." -Matt Williams on deciding where runners went on non-catch

It didn't take long to determine that there was no catch, but then the question was what to do with the runners on base? Adam LaRoche was on first and Jayson Werth on third. Harrison came up with the ball and could have held LaRoche at second base while holding Desmond to a single. Jayson Werth was scoring from third either way. Could LaRoche have taken third? Was it a double?

That was Nationals announcer F.P. Santagelo's reaction. He said the "catch" took away "at least a double." Bob Carpenter too initially guessed that LaRoche would get third and Desmond second.

"That what I went out and asked [first base ump] Tim [Welke]," Williams said. "'What was the opinion of where he would have been?' I think he's trying to advance to third there, but New York places them. So the guys in NY place the runners, they told them to place them at first and second, so that decision was already made."

Williams didn't argue the decision.

Werth scored on the play to make it 5-1. The Pirates added one run in the eighth and brought the tying run to the plate, but right-hander Aaron Barrett struck Starling Marte out to preserve the Nats' three-run lead and get it to Nationals' closer Rafael Soriano, who locked down his 11th save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

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