ST. PETERSBURG -- A foul ball off the bat of Steven Souza Jr. struck a woman to the left of the Rays' first-base dugout with two outs in the seventh in Friday night's 1-0 White Sox win at Tropicana Field. A stretcher was deployed to carry her from the stands, though the fan was conscious and talking. Team officials said she was being evaluated at a nearby hospital.
Visibly concerned for the injured fan, Souza went into the stands as the emergency workers tended to her. The situation led to an unofficial delay of about 12 minutes.
"That women's health is way more important than my results in the game," Souza said after the final out. "She was beat up pretty good, It looked like it caught her right in the eye, which wasn't a good sight. It's just so unfortunate. I'll be praying for her, hoping that she's OK.
"To try and focus back in on facing one of the best pitchers in the AL right after you see someone extremely hurt, it's hard. But I've got to be a professional, to stop and care about her but care about my teammates too and try to carry out that at-bat like a professional to the best of my ability."
The ball apparently went through an opening of just a few inches between two sections of netting near a photographers' well.
"I don't even know the odds," Souza said. "It's got to be astronomical to get through there, and then not only to get through there, but then to go straight for someone. It's just unfortunate."
"You feel for the lady and her family," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "The last thing you want to do is come to a ballgame as a player, as a coach or as a fan and see anybody get hurt."
The incident shook up the White Sox, too, including pitcher Chris Sale, who threw the pitch.
"I feel bad," Sale said. "That's tough. It's part of it. I think Major League Baseball is trying to do what they can to protect fans, but that's just a tough situation right there. I almost felt that when it happened. I just feel so bad for the individual and the family. I just hope for the best, really."
"I don't know how it even happened," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "I hope she's all right."
The scary moment came three innings after Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier and second baseman Logan Forsythe collided in the outfield, forcing both starters out of the game.