Evasive action: Harrison escapes rundown
Pirates utility man somehow able to reach third in 10th inning vs. Mets
PITTSBURGH -- Stranded between second and third during the 10th inning on Friday night at PNC Park, Josh Harrison knew he was in no-man's land. So the Bucs' electric utility man improvised.
Harrison was thinking on his feet. And his toes. And on the ground. And in the infield grass. And eventually he was on third base with the umpire signaling safe.
Harrison's evasive 10th-inning pickle featured six changes of direction, two dives to the ground and a very liberal usage of the basepaths all while the Mets were unable to tag him out. PNC Park went crazy while the Mets' dugout was dumbfounded. Though it ended up not being the difference in the Pirates' 3-2 win -- which Harrison ended with a walk-off double in the 11th -- the rundown was another clip for Harrison's rapidly growing highlight reel.
"When I saw them getting close, I dropped, and it worked the first time, so I did it a couple more times, and eventually got out of it," Harrison said. "I was just in the moment."
The moment started after Harrison led off the 10th inning with a single against Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia and then stole second on a play that was reviewed and stood as called. When Gregory Polanco hit a grounder right back to Mejia, that's when Harrison knew he was in trouble.
Harrison said he originally just wanted to make sure he gave Polanco enough time to advance to second, but he ended up doing much more.
"I was just waiting to see what would happen," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "I mean, there was a lot going on. One thing he definitely brings every day is energy, and he used a lot of it in that rundown. I was looking for a trapdoor; I thought he would pull a [late and legenday "Clown Prince of Baseball"] Max Patkin, where he would call a time out, point to the sky and try to go somewhere."
Mejia ended up with a great Houdini act of his own, getting two strikeouts and a flyout to force the 11th inning. However, that doesn't mean the Mets didn't have differing opinions on if Harrison should've been called out of the baseline.
Mets manager Terry Collins was already upset after losing the challenge and said, "I wasn't too happy at the time so I'm not really sure I was paying much attention," in reference to the Harrison call.
Collins said postgame that he thought Harrison was out of the baseline and went out to plead his case, but it was to no avail.
Said Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy: "I thought he used a great deal of the baseline -- quotation marks. They called him safe, but Mejia got out of it, and the only thing it cost us was it flips the lineup again."
Flipping the lineup allowed Harrison to bat fourth in the 11th inning. The only people he ran away from after his game-winning double were his teammates, who rushed the field to mob him.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.