Cliff Floyd's deep drive hit the top of the scoreboard, or perhaps the wall behind it, and then bounced back onto the field.
Home run? Double? Umpire Frank Pulli checked a television replay and then changed his call, much to the dismay of the Florida Marlins.
On further review, the rare role for TV helped the St. Louis Cardinals beat Florida, 5-2, yesterday in Miami.
Former Marlins World Series hero Edgar Renteria hit a pair of solo homers against his ex-teammates, while Kent Bottenfield pitched five innings and improved to 8-2, tying him for the NL lead in victories.
But the hot topic in both clubhouses afterward was Pulli's decision to consult a TV replay. The umpires changed the call twice and got it right in the end, costing Florida a run. The Marlins played the game under protest, arguing that the reliance on a replay violated major league policy and set an unwanted precedent.
"They used video to change the call -- that's what I'm protesting," interim manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
"I didn't know instant replay was in the game," Floyd said.
There is no mention of replay in the rule book, though umpires "do have the authority to rule on any point not specifically covered in these rules."
The ruling came in the fifth inning. St. Louis led 4-1 before Floyd drove in a runner from second with his deep drive. Floyd claimed his hit was a homer because it bounced off the facade behind the scoreboard. Second-base umpire Greg Gibson at first called the hit a double, but after the Marlins began to argue, the umpiring crew conferred briefly, and Pulli -- the crew chief and third-base umpire -- changed the ruling to a homer.
The Cardinals then protested, and the game was delayed for more than five minutes while Pulli studied replays on a TV camera near the Marlins' dugout.
When the replay showed the ball hit about two feet below the top of the scoreboard, Pulli changed the call back to a double, and Floyd ended the inning stranded at third.
The controversy managed to make Mark McGwire a footnote. McGwire, playing in his second game since being hospitalized for 36 hours with a staph infection in his right leg, went 2 for 5 with an RBI double. With the Marlins using four outfielders, he hit a grounder through the hole normally occupied by the second baseman for a two-out single in the seventh.
Renteria, fondly remembered by Marlins fans for driving in the winning run in the 1997 World Series, led off the fifth inning with his second homer of the year, then homered again to start the ninth. The game was his first in Miami since being traded to the Cardinals in December.
BRAVES 3, ROCKIES 1: In Atlanta, Brian Jordan had three hits, including a pair of run-scoring singles, to help Kevin Millwood win his fourth consecutive decision.
Millwood (6-3) gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out five in seven innings. Mike Remlinger pitched a scoreless eighth and John Rocker pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 12 opportunities.
PIRATES 5, DODGERS 4: Warren Morris blooped a tiebreaking single to center as Pittsburgh scored twice with two outs in the eighth inning to win at home. The Pirates won their season high-tying fourth in a row and seventh in nine games.
BREWERS 8, PADRES 2: Hideo Nomo allowed three hits in 6 1/3 innings for his fifth straight strong start to lead host Milwaukee. Nomo (3-1), released by the Mets and Cubs earlier this season, has a 2.41 ERA in five starts since being signed by the Brewers.
REDS 5, METS 3: Greg Vaughn homered and Ron Villone and Scott Williamson combined for 6 1/3 innings of hitless relief as New York, at home, lost its fourth in a row.
PHILLIES 4, GIANTS 3: Alex Arias capped a four-run seventh inning with a solo homer off John Johnstone to hand visiting San Francisco its fifth straight loss.
DIAMONDBACKS 8, EXPOS 5: Kelly Stinnett hit a two-run homer in the 10th as visiting Arizona won its seventh straight.