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10/26/08 2:34 AM ET

A postgame interview with Joe Maddon

Tampa Bay manager meets the media after Game 3 defeat

The whole bottom of the ninth inning, is that one of the strangest innings you've ever seen?

JOE MADDON: It was a difficult one. I was really pleased with our guys the whole game. I thought we came into a situation tonight where their team and their fans were ready, very difficult environment to play within. I was really proud of our guys. I thought the way Matt settled down and pitched as well as he did, and the way we came back and eventually tied the score. Made some tremendous plays and good base running.

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That happens in the ninth, of course the hit batter is not optimal, and the wild pitch and getting to third really creates a lot of havoc in a very difficult moment. Other than that I thought we played a great game tonight.

What was your view of the last play? Do you think the ball might have gone foul?

JOE MADDON: I couldn't tell that. I really couldn't. The grass is relatively thick. I don't think it would have gone foul. I don't know that, but I don't think so. I didn't even think of it. I really thought to myself, how is he going to throw this ball? Because bare handed there's no way to get on top and throw. It's a really awkward play and he did the best that he could. It's just an unfortunate situation.

I don't think it would have gone foul.

The five guys in the infield, what's the inspiration for that? Have you done it before? I can't remember seeing it many times in all the years I've covered baseball.

JOE MADDON: Of course everything in the minor leagues. You do everything in the minor leagues. We've done it earlier this year in Seattle with some success. We got out of an inning and eventually won a game. We were non successful against the White Sox. Ramirez hit a line drive to right field to beat us.

You have Grant in the game, who is not necessarily a ground ball pitcher. If that's going to occur you'd rather have Chad Bradford available or J.P. in the game, more of a ground ball type. But nevertheless you still have to take your chances right there. We've talked about it. We've worked on it. Zobrist being in the game we had legitimate infielders there. We got the ground ball.

If it's hit in a firm manner, we're in pretty good shape right there. It's just unfortunate the way it came out. We talked about it, we worked on it and we did it.

Just to clarify regarding the last play: Split second decision, a very difficult play. Is the proper thing to do there to let it roll and see it if it goes foul or jump on it?

JOE MADDON: Again, goodness, I don't know, you guys probably saw something on TV that I couldn't see from the dugout, because it's such an instinctive moment for your third baseman right there. I have no qualms with him picking it up and doing what he did. Actually if he had been able to flip it without the extra height, he would have been out at the plate. Longo did the best he could with it.

I don't know, you may have seen something differently. I didn't see it. I thought it was going to stay fair.

Did you think at all about maybe just letting Balfour try to strike his way out of the situation or is that too much to ask in that situation in the bottom of the ninth?

JOE MADDON: When the runner was on third base only?


JOE MADDON: Could have. Could have done that. But there's a whole bunch of different things. Victorino is so good, they could have bunted, they could have squeezed. There's a bunch of things that could have been out of your control. I think it was a 2 0 count at that particular juncture. Once they pinch hit the left hander, then Dobbs has had a pretty highly successful rate of pinch hitting this year.

Then here comes Ruiz, who's been wonderful for them. But nevertheless they still thought it was a good shot. Then they were going to have to pinch hit Stairs after that, which I was fine with, also.

Knowing Grant, he could strike people out and he gets a chopper. So many things are happening very quickly right there, you try to make your best guess, and that was ours.

What do you tell your team? I know it's a disappointing loss. You had the game possibly within your grasp, and possibly getting a win, after coming back and then losing it?

JOE MADDON: I'm really happy with our team. I have to reiterate with all of my love that we take chances. I love that they're not afraid to make mistakes. That's why we're going to win. The moment you start becoming afraid of making mistakes, you're definitely setting yourself up for the loss.

Look at J.P.'s pick off at second base of Werth, I thought that was outstanding. Navi's throwing out Rollins, who rarely ever gets thrown out. Navi's pick off at first base, I loved it. Sometimes it just doesn't work out. If we choose to play a more safe game, we wouldn't be here tonight.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.