Before the Ducks allowed nine runs in two straight innings to turn Friday night's Game 3 into a laugher for Lancaster, Ducks manager Kevin Baez made a safe decision to give his team a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.
With one out and runners on second and third, Joash Brodin hit an RBI groundout to first. But catcher's interference was called on the play.
Normally, Broadin would be awarded first base and the Ducks, now down 2-1 in the best-of-five series, would have been set up with bases loaded with one out. But the rule states that if the result of the play is more advantageous than the penalty for the offense -- and in this case it was because a run scored on the play -- the offense can decline the penalty.
So instead of bases loaded and one out leading 2-0, Baez elected to take the run and make it 3-0 with two outs and a runner on third. Ray Navarrete grounded out to end the inning.
Had Baez elected to take the interference, the Ducks, save Navarrete hitting into a double play, could have given cleanup man Brandon Sing an opportunity to hit with runners on base. Sing is hitting .367 in eight postseason games with a Ducks' record three home runs and eight RBIs.
Baez said he didn't think twice about his decision but did lament his team's inability to cash in on a multitude of early base runners. The Ducks left nine men on base, including three in the first two innings.
"The first two innings, I thought we had them rattled," Baez said after Friday's game. "Their pitcher [J.D. Durbin] was all over the place. But we only had three runs instead of some more."
Leadoff man Kraig Binick was 3-for-4 with singles in the first and second innings. The Hicksville native scored the Ducks' first run but was stranded at third in the second.
"We felt pretty confident because we were rolling there for a couple innings," Binick said Friday. "I think we felt we had a bigger lead than we did and they caught up with that big inning ."