PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo thought he hit his third leadoff home run in as many games Friday when he launched the third pitch of the game over the right-field seats. Then it got complicated and Chicago manager Joe Maddon ended up getting ejected.
First-base umpire Clint Fagan signaled that Rizzo's ball was fair, which would've been a home run. But the umpires conferred and decided it was foul.
"Rizzo hit a home run that was called fair," Maddon said after the Cubs rallied to win, 9-5, over the Pirates. "That's the call on the field. [The umpires] get together -- whereas instant replay is available to them -- they get together and somehow decided the ball was foul. Nobody was absolutely positive of that. ... It became a foul ball.
"Now the burden of proof came back to whether or not it was fair or not," Maddon said. "If it had been confirmed foul, I'm fine. But the play stood. If we had gone right to replay immediately after this thing was hit, and they said it was foul, I would've been in that game for nine innings. But the way it came down procedurally, I totally disagree with. There's no argument you can give me. You have basically neutered instant replay by the way it was handled tonight."
After Rizzo hit Trevor Williams' pitch over the right-field seats, he trotted around the bases. The umpires consulted, said the ball was foul, and then the Cubs challenged the call. This shows the difference between having a call stand and having a call confirmed. In this case, the call stood.
"The first-base umpire got it right when he said, 'Fair,'" Maddon said. "[The umpires] were not convincing -- they think it was fair. Even if somebody said they knew it was, go to the review.
"My argument was based on procedure. Period," Maddon said. "I totally disagree with the procedure."
It was Maddon's first ejection this season.
"There's no replay," said Rizzo, who tried to find video to prove he homered. "There's no good view of it. It's one of those things where the guy who is in position to make the call [first-base umpire Fagan], in my opinion, made the right call. I look at it, I'm like, all right, it's fair. [Gregory Polanco] did the same thing [in the fourth] -- why didn't they gather there and make the call? Why did they go straight to replay?
"It's not like [the call] was overturned," Rizzo said. "The call stood. They don't have proof if it's fair or foul."
By the way, the last player to lead off three straight games with a home run was Brady Anderson in 1996.
The weirdness continued as Cubs starter Eddie Butler needed to have the long white sleeves of his undershirt on Negro Leagues Heritage Game throwback uniform cut. Athletic trainer PJ Mainville came to the mound and cut them with scissors.
"We had to go out there and see what we could do with it, have some fun with it," Butler said. "We figured it wasn't going to last long. We might as well try."
It was a wild first inning. Consider this: The Cubs sent six batters to the plate and all of them reached base.
"It was scissors. It was a foul ball," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "A lot of stuff I haven't seen before. That was the first time I've seen a homer called a homer, then no it's not, then you've got the review. I've never seen a guy pitch with white sleeves before, either. ... A lot went on in the first inning."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.