June 9 (UPI) — Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes produced one of the biggest blunders of the 2021 MLB season, when he skipped first base and his home run was overturned during a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The peculiar play occurred in the bottom of the first inning in the 5-3 setback Tuesday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
“He got caught watching the ball,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton told reporters. “He thought he caught the back corner of [the base], but he didn’t.
“If he even thought he missed it, he [should have] gone back and touched it.”
The Dodgers went down in order in the first half-inning of the game. Pirates second baseman Adam Frazier led off the bottom of the frame with a fly out to left field.
Hayes then settled in against Dodgers starter Walker Buehler for the Pirates’ second at-bat. He worked up to a 3-1 count against the Dodgers right-handed pitcher.
Buehler tossed in a 96.9-mph fastball for his final offering of the exchange. Hayes squared up to the pitch and sent it to the opposite field. The ball carried over the right field fence, just left of the foul pole. Hayes’ would-be homer traveled 96.8-mph off his bat and went 346 feet.
The Pirates’ second-year infielder ran to first base, as he didn’t know if the ball would clear the fence. Hayes continued to watch the ball as he turned toward second base and failed to put his foot on the first bag.
Buehler tossed the ball over to Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy after Hayes rounded the bases. Muncy touched first base and the Dodgers challenged the home run. The umpire then issued an out to Hayes for the mistake and the run didn’t count.
“[Dodgers catcher] Austin Barnes noticed it live [from the dugout] and told them,” Dodgers second baseman Chris Taylor told reporters. “I’ve never seen that before.”
The Dodgers and Pirates did not score a run for the first four innings. The Dodgers then posted a three-run fifth inning. A.J. Pollock plated the first run with RBI double. Mookie Betts followed with an RBI triple. Muncy singled in the third run of the inning to score Betts.
Taylor smacked a two-run homer in the top of the sixth frame to push the advantage to 5-0.
Frazier brought in the first run for the Pirates with an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning. Bryan Reynolds and Michael Perez each homered in the bottom of the ninth inning for the final runs of the game.
Reynolds and Perez made sure to touch each base during those round-trippers.
Hayes went 1 for 4 in the loss. Muny and Buehler registered two hits apiece for the Dodgers.
Buehler allowed just two hits in seven scoreless innings to earn his fifth win of the season. Pirates starter J.T. Brubaker allowed five hits and three runs in 4 2/3 innings to drop to 4-5 this season.
Hayes, who hit .376 in 24 games last season, owns a .348 batting average with two home runs and five RBIs in six games this season.
The Pirates (23-36) host the Dodgers (35-25) at 7:05 p.m. EDT Wednesday at PNC Park.