With one out in the 11th and
at first base, Baldelli popped up to center field, but the
lost the ball in the lights at Tropicana Field. Running on the pitch, Crawford slid into second base, got up, ran past the bag, then retreated toward first before right fielder
finally threw to second for a forceout.
Baldelli stole second and appeared headed for third on another pitch from
(3-5). But Lyon wheeled and tried a pickoff that bounced off the glove of shortstop
into center field, allowing Baldelli to race home with the winning run.
"It just went off my glove," Garciaparra said. "It was kind of a weird play. I think we were all surprised that he was going."
"It wasn't the smartest thing to do," Baldelli said. "As soon as I took a step, they were yelling 'step off, step off.' We'll take the win, but I'll try to stay away from that. With the third baseman way back, I was trying to take a free base with no one looking. But Nomar was looking. ... Once it gets by the infielder you have to try and score."
Baldelli was credited with his second stolen base of the game and 16th this season.
That scenario was routine compared with the events in the bottom of the first.
After both teams came off the field, the umpires reversed the call, ruling Damon did not catch the ball on a fly. Despite protests from
manager Grady Little and starting pitcher
, Lee was sent to third base, Rolls to second and Anderson to first.
"The way the play developed, Johnny got up and fired the ball to second, someone has to be out," Little said. "They consulted out there and the idea was to get the call right, and it was clearly not a catch, so they reversed the initial decision. It was a messed-up play."
Little convinced the umpires that Rolls should be out on the force play.
unsuccessfully argued that Lee should have been allowed to score, then protested the game.
"There was no question he trapped it and the umpires got it right," Piniella said. "Boston's complaint was, they wanted the force at second base. My complaint was, we'll give you the force if you give us the run. Our runner was already on third and would have scored, so we protested."
"It was a matter of getting the play right," crew chief Joe Brinkman explained. "We were discussing it and initially, we were going to put runners on first, second and third, but then the crew discussed it some more. And since the throw was directly into third, it seemed like the best way to handle it at the time."
finally grounded out to end the inning, but Tampa Bay already scored three times on an RBI single by
and a two-run single by Rolls. The strange circumstances overshadowed a defensive gaffe by Nixon, who allowed
's fly ball to sail over his head for a single.