Longoria ends up with dome-assisted single
Ball ruled a hit after striking catwalk, though Rays don't score
ST. PETERSBURG -- A.J. Burnett thought he had the third out in the bottom of the sixth when he got Evan Longoria to pop up.
With the Yankees leading 4-2, first baseman Mark Teixeira appeared to camp under the ball close to the pitcher's mound, when suddenly he began to point to Robinson Cano to let him know the ball had hit the "B" ring catwalk and was ricocheting out toward where he normally stands to play second base. Meanwhile, Burnett covered his head, not knowing where the ball was headed.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Cano had also charged in to try to grab the popup, so he could not get back to the infield clay in time to stab the ball, which landed on the clay for a base hit.
"I saw the ball right above the catcher's circle," Teixeira said. "That's where I saw it hit. Anytime you're talking about balls hitting the catwalk, it's kind of laughable anyway. It's a baseball game and you've got balls hitting catwalks. Come on."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi came out of the dugout to argue the call, before the umpiring crew, headed by Wally Bell, met to talk over the ground rules. After the brief conference, play resumed with the hit standing.
According to Tropicana Field ground rules, a batted ball that is not judged a home run and strikes a catwalk, light or suspended object in fair territory shall be judged fair or foul in relation to where it strikes the ground or is touched by a fielder. If caught by the fielder, the batter is out and runners can advance at their own risk.
"It hit the front end of that big speaker, the very front tip of it, then just kicked out," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Carlos [Pena] did it a couple of years ago, so I guess we now have two guys who can reach the roof.
"I have no idea [if the speaker is] fair or foul. From where I'm standing, it looks like the speaker juts out far enough to where it is fair."
Teixeira felt it should have been a dead ball.
"I know in Texas Stadium, the punters were screwing around in preseason hitting the scoreboard, but they said it was a dead ball and you re-punt it," Teixeira said. "It seems to me if a guy skies a ball and it ricochets ... I mean, what if that's the seventh game of the World Series? Really, that ball is an out 999 out of 1,000 times."
Pena drew a walk after Longoria's gift single to load the bases before B.J. Upton popped out to end the inning. The Yankees ended up topping the Rays, 7-3, to win the series.
"The interesting thing is, when Longoria hits that ball, you think you're out of the inning," Girardi said. "Then you got to turn it back on again, and he ends up walking Pena, but then he did a good job on Upton."
When asked about the play, Yankees catcher Jorge Posada quipped, "Nice stadium."
"There's not much we can say," Posada said. "Whatever they're going to call, whatever they saw -- it's not a baseball stadium. You can't have balls going all over the place. Really, that's sad."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.