That. Was. Awesome.
… Unless you’re a Tampa Bay Rays fan.
The Boston Red Sox earned an emotional Game 3 win to gain a 2-1 advantage in the American League Division Series thanks to a walk-off home run from Christian Vázquez in the bottom of the 13th inning and a lights-out performance in extended relief from Nick Pivetta.
But before that, the game seemed to take a different turn.
In the top of the 13th with Yandy Díaz on first base, Kevin Kiermaier hit a deep ball to right center that seemed like it was landing out of the park. But upon review of the play, the ball actually first bounced off the wall, then off Red Sox outfielder Hunter Renfroe, and into the Boston bullpen.
It was ruled a ground-rule double by Kiermaier and Díaz was sent back to third base. Understandably, the Rays weren’t happy about it.
“That’s the ruling, the umpires explained it to me, so I can’t go against the rules — they are what they are,” Kiermaier said after the game, via NESN’s postgame coverage.
“It’s just a heartbreaker, and I can’t believe that happened and we don’t get the chance to score right there,” Kiermaier added. “For one, I crushed the ball. I was just hoping to see it leave the yard. I got a lot of snap and crackle but no pop, first and foremost. For that to happen right there doesn’t make sense to me, and it is what it is. … It would have put the pressure on them in the 13th inning, but for the ball to hit the wall, bounce off the player and go over, I can’t believe it’s a ground-rule double. … It’s a heart-breaker, plain and simple.”
It was a controversial call, and umpire Sam Holbrook even gave a postgame press conference to explain the ruling. For what it’s worth, the rule is as followed:
Any bounding fair ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands, or over or under a fence on fair or foul territory, in which case the batter and all runners shall be entitled to advance two bases.
The Rays have a chance at revenge Sunday, as the Red Sox host Game 4 at Fenway Park.