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The Red Sox were saved by an obscure rule before walk-off homer vs. Rays

After battling it out in an AL East that has been historically strong, the Tampa Bay Rays will be playing a fierce best-of-5 ALDS series

By Damian PetersPublished 2 years ago 3 min read

After battling it out in an AL East that has been historically strong, the Tampa Bay Rays will be playing a fierce best-of-5 ALDS series. After winning the World Series last year, the Rays were the favorite in the AL and achieving 100 wins during the regular season for the first time ever in Rays franchise history. Red Sox won 92 games in the regular season, beating the New York Yankees in Wild Card. They earned their place in the ALDS.

Tampa Bay defeated Boston in Game 2 to win the opener. In Game 2, the Red Sox's bats were on fire, scoring a rout to tie the series at 1-1. The series was now set for Game 3, which took place at Fenway Park. There, the Rays and Red Sox played a classic October game that was appropriate for such a charged environment. Boston was one win away of the ALCS with a walk-off homer by Christian Vazquez.

However, Vazquez's hit was not enough to keep Tampa from scoring the winning run in the top 13th. A strange rule and some good luck for Boston kept Tampa away.

When the Rays presented a scoring threat in 13th inning, the teams were tied 4-4 and headed to extra innings. Yandy Diaz walked to bring a runner home. Kevin Kiermaier had two outs. Kiermaier struck out the sixth pitch from Boston pitcher Nick Pivetta. However, it struck the top of the wall and bounced off Red Sox infielder Hunter Renfroe. It then went over the wall.

Yandy was close to reaching third base, and was on his way to scoring a run. But instead of the play being ruled as a ground-rule double, Yandy was forced to return to third base, and he would be left stranded by the Rays in the final inning.

Although there was much confusion at the time the ruling was made, the umpires were able to make the correct call. MLB rules state that any ball that is knocked over the fence of a position player by a baseball player is considered a ground double. Baseball rules actually reward outfielders for making mistakes.

This is the official rule: Any fair ball deflected into the stands by the fielder means that the batter and all runners have two bases.

If Renfroe hadn't accidentally thrown the ball over the wall, the Rays would have scored just one run. But it wouldn't be enough. This is because Renfroe walked in at the 13th and put Vazquez on the plate.

Vazquez hit a homer on the first pitch of the at bat to give Boston the win.

Cash stated that he understood the rule after the game and didn't challenge the play. This is because his team has been in similar situations before.

The Rays misdirected the ball into the stands during a 2019 game against Blue Jays. It saved them a run. You can see it here.

Although it was a difficult break for the Rays this time, credit Vazquez for winning the game for Boston with one hit in the bottom inning.

Many fans are upset and quite rightfully so. There is no way that this is a fair rule. My understanding of this rule is that any outfielder could throw a ball over the fence to limit any play to a ground rule double. This means that any botched play by any outfielder could simply be void of any consequence if the outfielder throws the ball out of play. I hope this rule is changed in the offseason as it has substantially altered this year's postseason.

The Rays' season is at stake and the Red Sox are in prime place to win the pennant. Baseball is never afraid to surprise and bewilder us.


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