Pirates manager Shelton argues through mask, gets 1st ML win

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Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton (17) argues with home plate umpire Jordan Baker during the third inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday, July 26, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS – Pittsburgh’s Derek Shelton staged baseball’s first major, socially distanced umpire argument, then got his first victory as a big league manager as the Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 on Sunday.

Colin Moran and Jose Osuna homered, and Mitch Keller pitched five solid innings for the Pirates.

Shelton came out to argue with plate umpire Jordan Baker in the third inning after pitcher Derek Holland was ejected from the dugout for arguing balls and strikes.

Shelton lifted a gaiter over his face as he left the dugout, and Baker pulled a mask out of his pocket and held it to his face as Shelton argued from about six feet away. Baker let Shelton say his piece, and the first-year skipper was not ejected.

Despite the odd circumstances of the argument, Shelton paid Baker a compliment about the dust-up.

“Jordan did a really good job of it. We were trying to stay distant, which we were both aware of,” he said. “Then his mask broke midway though (our argument) so I wanted to make sure that my mask stayed up and he was great.

"He handled it professionally. I think it was the first time, and we were both in an unknown area, and then when I went out there later, we kind of got a chuckle out of it.”

Pittsburgh avoided being swept and beat the Cardinals for just the second time in their last 14 meetings. The Pirates made sure this was a game to celebrate, all for their new manager.