ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) --Dave McCarty's deep drive turned into
a controversial out.
McCarty's fly ball to left field wound up in the stands, but he
was called out because of fan interference in the ninth inning and
the Boston Red Sox lost to Tampa Bay 5-4 Saturday.The crazy ending touched off an argument in which Doug Mirabelli
was ejected for arguing from the dugout.With one out and no one on in the ninth, McCarty hit a drive and
Carl Crawford went back to the wall. As Crawford jumped, a fan
appeared to reach over the 11-foot, 5-inch fence and catch the
ball."I thought I had it all the way," Crawford said. "I'm getting
ready to jump and the next thing I see is a glove. You could tell
from my reaction, I was pretty upset about it."The ball was thrown back onto the field."I think he was a Boston fan," Crawford said. "It was funny
because the guy that was next to him gave him a look like, `Uh-oh,'
it's something you shouldn't (have done)."McCarty was already at second base when second-base umpire and
crew chief Joe West ruled him out."I thought it was in the seats by a couple or three feet,"
Boston manager Grady Little said. "It's just another one of those
occasions where many millions of people saw it differently than the
guy that counted."West said it was an unusual play that doesn't happen often."It appeared the left fielder could catch the ball, and if you
can catch the ball and it's spectator interference, then it's an
out," West said. "I thought he could have caught it and that's
what I ruled."Little came out to argue, to no avail before Mirabelli was
tossed."There were a couple of players that looked like they were
directing a symphony," West said. "One of them in particular
probably called for the wrong instrument at the time."Mirabelli was surprised by his ejection."I was just indicating that the ball was over the fence,"
Mirabelli said. "I don't know what he thought I did to get thrown
out. Can you throw me out for saying that ball was a foot over the
fence?Nomar Garciaparra made the final out on a grounder.Aubrey Huff tied Tampa Bay's RBI record and Travis Lee homered
for the Devil Rays.Reliever Chad Gaudin (2-0) gave up four hits over 4 1-3
scoreless innings for the win. Boston's Jeff Suppan (3-4) gave up
five runs and eight hits over six innings.Lance Carter got his 25th save in 32 opportunities.Huff got his 106th RBI on a first-inning RBI single. He tied the
team mark set in 2000 by Fred McGriff.Lee broke a 4-all tie with his 19th homer in the third for the
Devil Rays (62-99), who are trying to avoid becoming the first team
since the 1977-79 Toronto Blue Jays to lose 100-games in three
consecutive seasons."It comes down to the last game of the season," Devil Rays
manager Lou Piniella said. "It will be interesting."The Red Sox got homers from Todd Walker, Mirabelli and
Garciaparra.Boston's Bill Mueller, who entered as the AL batting leader,
went 1-for-3 and is hitting .327. Teammate Manny Ramirez had a .325
average after going 1-for-2.Little said Ramirez might get Sunday off and that Mueller could
see limited action.Walker put the Red Sox up 2-0 with a two-run homer in the first.Tampa Bay responded with four runs in the bottom half.Julio Lugo hit an RBI double before Huff's single tied it at 2.
Rocco Baldelli drove in a run with a triple and then scored on
Lee's grounder to make it 4-2.Mirabelli hit his first homer since Aug. 8 to make it 4-3 in the
second.Garciaparra tied it at 4 with a solo homer off Rob Bell in the
third.Lee gave the Devil Rays a 5-4 lead on a solo homer in the bottom
half.Bell allowed four runs and six hits -- including three homers --
in 2 1-3 innings.
Little said RHP Tim Wakefield will start Game 2 of Boston's
playoff series against Oakland. RHP Derek Lowe will start Game 3.
RHP John Burkett or Game 1 starter RHP Pedro Martinez is slated for
the fourth game. ... Ramirez set a career high with 185 hits this
season on an infield single in the first. ... Crawford stole second
in the first and leads the AL with 54. ... Garciaparra is 8-for-13
with three homers against Bell.