ST. PETERSBURG -- Joe Maddon had never seen anything like it. Neither had Evan Longoria. Sean Rodriguez even admitted he had only watched plays like it on "SportsCenter".
The bizarre ball-down-the-shirt play Rodriguez made in the top of the sixth inning of Monday night's 6-4 win over the Rangers was certainly a rare sight for everyone at Tropicana Field. With two outs and runners on first and second, Vladimir Guerrero chopped a ball at Rodriguez, but it bounced off the second baseman's chest and into his jersey. He scrambled to remove it, even saying later that he would have ripped his jersey off if it meant holding the runner at third.
"I was just glad I was able to get it out so the guy couldn't run around third and score," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez discussed the play with Guerrero, quipping, "Hey man, I don't wear a chest protector out here." Guerrero defended himself by saying he didn't even hit the ball that hard. Rodriguez, showing off the bright red mark the ball left on his chest, begged to differ.
He said plenty of people asked him afterward if he had left his top button undone or anything different, but the only unusual thing about the play was the fact that the ball landed inside his jersey.
"If I put like Velcro right across, I can Velcro that shirt down, and it won't happen again," Rodriguez said.
Fortunately for Rodriguez and the Rays, left-hander David Price rebounded from that oddity by striking out Jorge Cantu to get out of the inning. Since no runs scored and Tampa Bay came out on top, the team was able to appreciate the bizarre play after the game.
"That's great composure on David's part, because you make a pitch like that, you get the ground ball, you think you're out of the inning, but no," Maddon said. "The ball gets lodged in his shirt and you have to pitch to Cantu with the bases loaded."