ATLANTA -- It made the highlight -- or maybe more appropriately, the lowlight -- reels afterward, but fortunately for Pirates left fielder Jason Bay, the ball that should have been caught to end Monday's game an hour before the contest did end didn't play over in his nightmares.
He has Xavier Nady and Franquelis Osoria to thank for that.
After not being immediately available for comment after Monday's 12-11 win, Bay gave his account on Wednesday of what had the potential to be one of the most infamous defensive gaffes in recent Pirates' history had the final outcome not turned out the way it did.
"That was just a classic miscommunication," Bay said. "I thought center fielder Nate [McLouth] was going to take it. He thought I was going to take it."
The play came as the Pirates clung to a two-run lead with the Braves down to their final out in the bottom of the ninth. With the potential tying runs on base, Atlanta catcher Brian McCann popped a ball up to left-center field. It should have been a routine fly ball out. It should have sealed the game for the Pirates.
But it dropped in between Bay and McLouth, allowing two runs to score and eventually sending the game into extra innings.
So how exactly could such a seemingly routine play not be made? Just as McLouth explained two nights ago, Bay said it all started with the "no-doubles" defensive setup. With both outfielders playing near the warning track, the distance they had to cover was longer than usual.
"If we were normal depth, it's a lot easier for us to make a judgment earlier," Bay explained. "But since we were both on a full sprint, neither one of us could make a decision on who was going to catch it."
Neither outfielder called the ball.
Bay did, however, end up overrunning the point where the ball actually ended up falling. He appeared to be in better position to make the catch and had a shorter distance to run than McLouth. So shouldn't he have been in place to make the easy catch?
"I saw it the whole way," Bay said. "Just at the very end I saw Nate coming out of the corner of my eye and that's why I peeled away. And I just tried to get out of his way."
Still, Bay wasn't trying to run away from taking responsibility for not making the play.
"I take the blame," Bay added. "I should have caught that ball. But because I saw Nate there, I thought maybe he had called it sometime running in. There's no excuse, though. That's an easy out."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.