In the first inning, Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion uncorked a grounder to third base, likely an easy out. Instead, Middlebrooks fired a bullet to home plate in an attempt to catch Colby Rasmus out.
When Rasmus collided with Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach, various replays showed that he had been tagged out. Home plate umpire Sam Holbrook briefly paused and spread his arm, calling Rasmus safe.
After Friday's 6-1 loss, the sequence was a hot topic in Boston's clubhouse.
"I was sitting on top of the plate, I don't know how he got his hand in there but the umpire said he got his hand in there," Shoppach said. "That's about it. I just, I don't see how he got there but he said he saw it and you know, called him safe."
From Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine's point of view, Middlebrooks gunned Rasmus down.
"He was out pretty easily," Valentine said. "It wasn't like a bang-bang play."
The play prolonged the lengthy first inning, which resulted in another run for the Blue Jays on J.P. Arencibia's RBI single. Had Rasmus not been called safe, the Red Sox could have been poised to escape.
But Middlebrooks has no regrets with the throw. The rookie third baseman was simply following his instincts by rifling a throw home instead of electing for the conservative throw to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
"Didn't have a real big lead off of third," Middlebrooks said. "I was playing halfway in so I knew I would have a shot at home. I took a shot. Trying to save a run for Josh [Beckett]."
Fortunately for Middlebrooks, his team supported his decision despite the outcome.