ST. PETERSBURG -- Nothing like the ol' 1-4-3-5 double play. With an assist on a line-drive out, no less.
"How strange was that?" said manager Joe Maddon of the victimized Rays.
It happened in the Tampa Bay half of the third inning of Friday night's 8-2 victory over the Royals at Tropicana Field. With one out, Carl Crawford tripled and Evan Longoria walked. Ben Zobrist hit a liner that struck Kansas City pitcher Sidney Ponson's left forearm, ticked his shoulder and ricocheted in the air right to second baseman Alberto Callaspo.
"I just saw the ball and caught it," Callaspo said. "I got the ball and just tried for the double play. I haven't seen anything like that before."
Except Callaspo didn't get the double play the way he envisioned.
After making the catch to retire Zobrist, Callaspo threw to first baseman Billy Butler in an attempt to double off Longoria. But Longoria got back in time and the ball got away momentarily from Butler. In the meantime, Crawford was almost to home plate. Ponson yelled and pointed to third base, and Butler fired to third baseman Alex Gordon.
Crawford was out by a mile and the inning was over.
"It was just a weird play," Crawford said. "I don't know what really happened. I just saw it hit off the glove, and it kind of took off and bounced into the second baseman's hands. I took my eyes off it and figured it hit the ground. I wasn't too sure what happened at the time. Next time I'll just have to pay closer attention."
Ponson walked off the mound and smiled. He wasn't injured and he took the odd play in stride.
"It just hit my arm, I'll be OK," he said with a shrug. "Weird things happen in this game."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.