CHICAGO -- The Cubs were hoping a replay challenge could aid their comeback cause on a wacky play in the ninth inning Sunday against the Pirates, but to no avail.
With the Cubs down two runs, runners on the corners and one out, Nate Schierholtz shattered his bat on a pitch from Pirates closer Mark Melancon. Most of the bat went flying past Melancon in one piece, while the ball went to second baseman Josh Harrison, who was playing to the left of second base as part of a defensive shift.
Harrison's flip to a covering Jordy Mercer at second was too high, causing Mercer to leap for the ball and come back down on the bag in time to get Starlin Castro out. That brought Cubs manager Rick Renteria out of the dugout to challenge, but after a review of less than one minute, the call was confirmed.
A run scored on the play, but Melancon got Junior Lake to fly out to secure the Pirates' series-clinching, 2-1 victory.
"I've never been in the infield when so many bats ended up there the way they do now," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "To play through that … for Josh to stay with it and Jordy to be able to go up and come down in time to get the force."
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.