The Boston Red Sox were the beneficiaries of a ground-rule double call during Sunday’s Game 3 win against the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Division Series at Fenway Park.
Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier, who had the hit we’re referring to, called the play a “heart-breaker” due to the fact the Rays could have scored what would have been the game-leading run. Alex Cora and other members of the Red Sox, though, know while they may have benefitted, there isn’t much of a rebuttal to be had.
“I didn’t even ask. I was, like, automatic double,” Cora said after Boston’s 6-4 win in extra innings, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “There’s ground rule doubles, and there are automatic doubles, that’s what (Jon) Boog Sciambi taught me in TV, and I guess it was an automatic double, I don’t know. I didn’t even ask, I haven’t checked.”
The play in question took place as Kiermaier hit a deep drive off the right-field wall. It then deflected off Red Sox right fielder Hunter Renfroe, and proceeded to bounce over the right-field fence and into Boston’s bullpen. Yandy Díaz, who was chugging around from first base, was forced to go back to third due to the ruling.
“He hit it pretty well, and I was actually going for the catch and happened to look up and the wall was right there,” Renfroe recollected, as seen on NESN. “It hit the top of the wall, ricocheted off the ground, hit me in the right hip and thankfully bounced over the fence.
“It would be the same as if you were going down the line, it hit your glove and bounced over — same thing,” Renfroe added.
Kiké Hernández was transparent when it came to admitting the Red Sox caught a bit of a break, but, again, the ruling was determined and confirmed by umpire Sam Holbrook after the final verdict.
“Obviously, I got a great view of it. I went behind him to where my idea, my eyes were telling me where the ball was going to bounce,” Hernandez said. “If it beat him, I needed to be there to like make a strong throw in case (Yandy) Diaz was, I don’t, we could have had a play at the plate or at third or whatever. When that happened, I was just speechless. I don’t know if you guys have ever seen that before. I’ve never seen that before in my life. I wasn’t sure what was gonna be called. I wasn’t sure if the runners had to return, I wasn’t sure if it was gonna be, like, an errant throw where the runner would get two bags. I had no idea. I mean, luckily it went our way. Call it home-field advantage if you want, call it whatever you want, but we won.”
The Red Sox made the most of it as Christian Vázquez hit a walk-off home run in the bottom half of the inning. With the win, the Red Sox take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series while the Rays look to stave off elimination Monday night at Fenway Park.