A walkoff Christian Vazquez home run over the Green Monster allowed the Boston Red Sox to survive a 13-inning marathon in Game 3 of the ALDS and clinch a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. Sunday’s win puts Boston up 2-1 in the best-of-five series.
The big story came in the top of the 13th, when what would’ve be the go-ahead run for the visitors got nullified by a few weird bounces in what ended up being a ground-rule double.
With two outs and Yandy Diaz on first, Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier launched one to deep right field that — follow me here — bounced off the wall, then bounced off Red Sox right fielder Hunter Renfroe, and then back over the wall for a ground-rule double.
Advancing during the play, Diaz ended up scoring on what was thought to be the go-ahead run. But after long deliberation from the umpires and a call to New York, the play was ruled a regular ground-rule double, with Kiermaier being parked on second and Diaz being parked on third. Rays catcher Mike Zunino would be set down on strikes to end the inning and people were, of course, not happy about the ruling...
Here’s ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan going directly into the MLB rule book to explain the decision.
Here it is. Rule 5.05(a)(8). It explains the ruling that put Kevin Kiermaier on second and kept Yandy Diaz on third. pic.twitter.com/aBg0fImlIg— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 11, 2021
For those asking: Well, Yandy Diaz was halfway between second and third when the ball hit out Hunter Renfroe, so why didn't he get two bases and advance home? Here is the rule from the MLB umpire manual. It has to do with possession — and it determines when the two are awarded. pic.twitter.com/FVXF20QN6Q— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 11, 2021
The fluke bounce off Renfroe may be what ultimately determines this high-stakes playoff series between two bitter AL East rivals. Game 4 is set for 7:07 p.m. ET on Monday at Fenway Park.