Game-Ending Play at the Plate Creates Tale of Two Clubhouses Following Red Sox Win


Jul 5, 2011

Game-Ending Play at the Plate Creates Tale of Two Clubhouses Following Red Sox Win The replay will suggest that the Toronto Blue Jays tied the Boston Red Sox in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday night. The call made by home plate umpire Brian Knight said that they came up short.

After the wild play which ended Boston's 3-2 victory at Fenway Park, it was a tale of two clubhouses.

There were the Red Sox, praising left fielder Darnell McDonald for a perfect throw to nail Edwin Encarnacion — who was trying to score from second on a base hit with two outs — and catcher Jason Varitek for stonewalling Encarnacion at the plate.

Then there were the Blue Jays, whose manager was stunned after seeing the tape of the play in question.

"After the replay, absolutely," John Farrell said when asked if he was surprised Encarnacion was called out. "From our vantage point, Edwin is right in line with the play at the plate. We don't have, as anyone in that situation, we don't have the benefit of replay, but the wide margin which he missed the tag, little bit surprised the call went that way."

Boston opened the ninth inning with a 3-0 lead. Closer Jonathan Papelbon gave up a single to Corey Patterson and then a two-run homer to Jose Bautista into the first row of the Monster seats to make it a one-run game (Papelbon later said that "in 29 other ballparks that ball is a can of [stuff]").

Encarnacion singled one out later and J.P. Arencibia drew a walk with two outs to push the potential tying run into scoring position.

Papelbon got ahead of John McDonald 0-2 before the light-hitting Toronto infielder looped a single into shallow left, not too far off the line.

Darnell McDonald, playing shallow in an already tight left field at Fenway Park, was on the ball in an instant and threw a strike to Varitek. Encarnacion slid in leading with his left foot, which was blocked by Varitek's immovable left leg. However, as Encarnacion's body spun, his right leg caught the plate before Varitek's tag.

The out call was made with minimal protest from the Blue Jays, who really didn't see the mistake until they reached the clubhouse.

By that time, Boston was packing up from a dramatic win and content with what its players did on the final play.

"I was just trying to get the ball in as quick as I could," Darnell McDonald said. "Great tag by the captain, blocking the plate there. It's a do or die play so I'm just trying to get the ball in as soon as possible."

"I think Tek deserves a save," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He's as good at that as anybody in the game. I know there were some people squawking about that a couple of months ago [because of the Buster Posey incident], but that's a good baseball play. He stuck that stump in there and didn't let him get to the plate.

"Mac made a great throw. Certainly not the way we drew it up, but that's certainly a heck of a way to end the game."

For Boston, it was. For Toronto, not so much. In fact, Farrell was left wondering how it could be the end of anything.

"We should still be playing," he said.

Previous Article

Red Sox Survive Jon Lester’s Injury, Late Surge to Defeat Blue Jays 3-2

Next Article

Red Sox Get Another Boost From Bullpen in Win Over Toronto After Jon Lester’s Early Exit

Picked For You