At 1:21 a.m. Wednesday, almost eight hours after the start of Tuesday night's doubleheader between the Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, Dodger reliever Brian Holton struck out Candy Maldonado to end the 11-inning second game.
Holton triumphantly raised both fists in the air.
"You know, I didn't even know I did that," Holton said after the Dodgers' 6-5 win that completed a sweep. "It seemed kind of unreal."
Many of the events of the second game seemed unreal. After the Dodgers won a routine opener, 7-3, the teams battled in the second game until Giant relief pitcher Scott Garrelts, who also balked home a run in the first game, balked in the winning run from third base. Holton held off the Giants in the bottom of the 11th to give the Dodgers the sweep.
The balk call by plate umpire Greg Bonin was so ill-received by the Giants that both Manager Roger Craig and pitcher Mike Krukow, who is on the disabled list, were ejected for arguing, Krukow from the bench.
It also resulted in at least one arrest. A fan to the left of home plate narrowly missed hitting Bonin with a baseball before being led away by police. Several fans threw bottles and batteries onto the field.
Afterward, Craig severely criticized Bonin's call.
"It was just an incompetent call," Craig said. "Let the players decide the ballgame, not the umpire. We come back twice, battle like hell, play seven, eight hours of ball, and a balk has to be the deciding factor in the game.
"We lose the first game and then the second on a balk call, and the ump says I got the fans excited. . . . If a guy is a good pro umpire, he's not going to make a borderline call at a point like that. He lets the players decide the game."
Doug Harvey, the umpire crew chief, defended Bonin's call.
"I threw up my hands (at second base) at the exact same time, and I could hear (Jerry) Crawford calling from third, so there's really no question about it," Harvey said. "It wasn't some nothing balk call. It was a definite, flagrant balk. There was not a complete, visual stop."
Extra innings would not have been required had it not been for Giant comebacks in the eighth and ninth innings.
The Dodgers had a 4-2 lead in the eighth when Bob Melvin hit a two-run triple on reliever Jay Howell's first pitch, scoring Maldonado and Ernest Riles to tie it, 4-4.
But the Dodgers regained the lead in the ninth when Steve Sax drove in Jeff Hamilton from second base with an infield single that diving second baseman Robby Thompson could not get under control.
The Giants, however, tied it again in the bottom of the ninth when Thompson singled, was sacrificed to second and went to third when Dodger shortstop Dave Anderson threw low attempting to get Thompson trying to advance on Chris Speier's grounder. Thompson scored when Anderson could get only a force-out at second on Will Clark's grounder.
The Dodgers scored the deciding run on the balk after Franklin Stubbs doubled and took third base on Tracy Woodson's grounder to the right side.
Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda showed little compassion for the manner in which the Giants lost. "They've been calling balks on Garrelts all year," Lasorda said. "He didn't stop. He's got to stop (at the belt before resuming his delivery). That's the rule. He didn't stop, and we won."
Said Dodger pitcher Orel Hershiser, the winner in the first game: "It's a tough way to lose. But I have no gripe with the umpiring crews on balk calls. My gripe is with the National League office for telling them how to call it.
"If the intent of the rule is to keep the pitcher from deceiving the runner, there was no deception there. Garrelts wasn't trying to fool him."