The Tampa Bay Rays finally won a game Wednesday night, but it happened in one of the oddest ways possible.
All hail the rule book.
The Rays won 3-2 when Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista was called out for an illegal slide in the ninth inning Wednesday. He reached out with his left hand and made contact with second baseman Logan Forsythe, who had thrown wildly to first and, for a moment, seemed to let in Ryan Goins with the tying run and Josh Donaldson with the go ahead.
However, Kevin Cash received a call from upstairs, then challenged the play. Umpires quickly called Bautista out.
“Common sense has to come into this,” Bautista said. “I felt like I slid directly into at the bag. I could have done much worse and chose not to.”
And manager John Gibbons said “I guess we’ll come out wearing dresses tomorrow. That turned the game into a joke. It’s flat-out embarrassing.”
What both failed to acknowledge, however, is that baseball’s rules are different on the neighborhood play this year. For most of baseball history, there might have been zero wrong with Bautista’s slide; this year, there is.
In a way, it would have been a shame if a bad throw by Forsythe had cost the Rays; he did so much to help them win. He had three hits, including a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to give the Rays their first lead of the season.
“How many wins have happened like that?” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We’ll take it.”
Jake Odorizzi struck out 10 in 5 2/3 innings.
The Rays and Jays end their series today at 1:10 p.m.