Baserunning mistake derails Navarro, rally

Published May 19, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG -- The way Dioner Navarro saw it, he was running where he always runs on the way to first. The way Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon saw it, he shouldn’t have had to run anywhere else.

But the way umpires Brian Knight and Wally Bell saw it, Navarro was out for interfering with Florida catcher Matt Treanor’s throw to first.And all the Rays could do was watch their best chance to get back in Friday’s game disappear.

"They said he was inside the line, which is probably the most ridiculous rule in all of Major League Baseball," Maddon said. "I'm sure he was. Where else is a guy supposed to run? Where do you run?

"It's abnormal to run any way but the way everyone else runs to first base."

Slicing Florida’s lead to 8-4 when Ty Wigginton homered to lead off the eighth, the Rays had the bases loaded and no outs when Navarro, having pulled a potential grand slam just foul, grounded back to the mound.

Reliever Matt Lindstrom threw home for one out, but Treanor’s throw to first clipped Navarro’s left elbow and bounced away. It looked like it would be 8-5 (as Greg Norton scored) with runners on third (Delmon Young) and second (Navarro).

But the umpires -- correctly, as Maddon acknowledged -- enforced Rule 6.05 (k), which says the runner going to first must be in the 3-foot lane that is technically on the foul (right) side of the line. Navarro was out, the other runners had to go back, and Brendan Harris struck out.

"I was running down the line where I normally run any time I hit the ball on the ground," Navarro said.

BIG SWINGERS: Wigginton hit two homers for the second time this season and fifth in his career. Of his 32 homers with the Rays, 24 have come at the Trop. … Carlos Pena hit his eighth, matching Wigginton for the team lead, off the C-ring catwalk, the fourth time (third fair) he has hit a ringer. … The back-to-back homers in the sixth were the Rays’ second of the season.

SOME RELIEF: With Al Reyes and Brian Stokes absolutely, positively unavailable after pitching in five straight games (over six days) and starter Edwin Jackson lasting just 2 2/3 innings, Tim Corcoran stepped up hugely, working 5 1/3 innings and allowing one run.

"He saved our bacon," Maddon said. "What he did was great for the whole staff."

MISCELLANY: Norton reached base three times (two walks and a single) in his first game, having been activated off the disabled list Thursday. … The Rays were seeking their first five-game win streak since Aug. 16-21, 2005. … Wigginton and Stokes will sign autographs from 5:45 to 6:15 p.m. today at the Trop. … Jonny Gomes will be at Checkers (1972 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd., Clearwater) from 10:30 a.m. to noon today and Harris at the Achieva Credit Union (10125 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater) from 10 to 11:30 a.m. … Navarro ended an 0-for-14 skid with a third-inning double. …  Double-A Montgomery 3B Evan Longoria was hit by a pitch again Friday, extending his streak of reaching base to 36 games.

Marc Topkin can be reached attopkin@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8801.