Vulcan Captain Solok brings his starship to Deep Space Nine for repairs made necessary from combat skirmishes. Convinced his all-Vulcan crew is the finest in the fleet, he challenges former classmate and longtime rival Sisko to a baseball game in the holosuite. With only two weeks to whip his team into shape, Sisko vows he's going to beat Solok—even though Jake is the only other person residing on the station who has ever played baseball.
The training sessions are grueling. Sisko's team is plagued by injuries and inexperience. When one such injury sidelines O'Brien, Sisko makes him a coach, then pulls some strings to enlist his traveling girlfriend Kasidy Yates—who knows how to play—as a replacement. Unfortunately, Sisko has neither the time nor the patience to train his weaker players, and in a fit of frustration, he throws a well-meaning but inept Rom off the team.
Rom's abrupt dismissal nearly causes Sisko's squad to quit in protest, but Rom insists they continue on without him. Privately, Sisko confides in Kasidy the real reason why he's taking Solok's challenge so seriously. He recounts how Solok once humiliated him publicly when they were both in Starfleet Academy: a wrestling match where Sisko had no chance because Vulcans have about three times the physical strength of humans, and he suffered broken ribs. Ever since, Solok has always gloated about Vulcan superiority in all things, and now Sisko can't bear the thought of Solok beating him at his own game. Though sworn to silence, Kasidy informs the DS9 crew of Sisko's motives, which inspires them to try all the harder to beat the Vulcans.
Game day arrives. The teams gather in the holosuite. The first Vulcan who steps up to bat slams a home run—and the game goes downhill from there. By the top of the fifth inning, Sisko's team is losing to Solok's, 7-0. Just when things couldn't get any worse, Sisko gets thrown out by Odo, who's umpiring the game, for poking Odo in the chest during the argument, thus violating the rule that players/coaches are not to make intentional contact with the umpire.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Rom's son Nog manages to make it to third base. The crew is down 10-0 and they'd desperately like to score a run. Realizing that Rom's feelings are more important than winning, Sisko arranges to put the Ferengi into the game. Rom accidentally hits a perfect bunt, which brings Nog home, giving the Niners their only run in a 10-1 loss. This unleashes a joyous celebration—so joyous it stops the game and disturbs Solok. Solok protests to Odo, but also touches him so Odo throws him out too. Later at Quark's, Sisko and his ebullient crew toast the triumph of team spirit over Vulcan superiority. Solok protests their "manufactured triumph," but the DS9 crew merely laugh off his argument, accusing him of behaving emotionally—irritated, defensive, angry, jealous, and bitter. Solok storms off, while the DS9 team celebrates.