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Braves win 19-inning marathon on controversial play

ATLANTA (Reuters) - The longest game of the Major League season ended on a controversial play in the 19th inning as the Atlanta Braves prevailed 4-3 over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a marathon affair that ended on Wednesday morning.

Atlanta's Julio Lugo scored the winning run from third base on an infield ground ball after he was called safe, even though it appeared Pittsburgh catcher Michael McKenry had tagged him out.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle furiously argued the call as the umpires retreated from a lengthy contest that started on Tuesday and carried over into the morning hours.

The Braves needed six hours and 39 minutes to outlast the Pirates, narrowly surpassing the previous longest battle this year.

Cincinnati and Philadelphia competed for six hours and 11 minutes during their own 19-inning marathon on May 25.

This matchup featured 15 pitchers and remained tied 3-3 through 15 scoreless innings.

Pittsburgh (53-48) tallied two runs in the first and one in the second to take a 3-0 lead, but the Braves (60-44) responded with three scores in the third to tie it up.

The longest game in the franchise history of both teams took its toll, however.

The Pirates fell one game behind first place in the National League Central and Atlanta's All-Star catcher Brian McCann strained his oblique in the 10th inning and is likely headed for the disabled list.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)

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