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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Double trouble: Red Sox bounce TB after odd wall call at 13

by Jimmy Golen

BOSTON (AP) — Saved by a bizarre bounce and an ambiguous decision, the Boston Red Sox beat Tampa Bay 6-4 on a walk-off Sunday night, a two-run homer by Christian Vazquez in the 13th inning to seal a win. Took a win by eliminating. 100-win Rays from the AL Division Series.

The wild-card Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in a best-of-five matchup. Game 4 is at Fenway Park on Monday – Marathon Day in Boston – with Game 5 in St. Petersburg, Florida on Wednesday if necessary.

Tampa Bay rallied from a 4–2 deficit to tie in the eighth inning and it was still a 4-all when Yandy Diaz took one out in the 13th. Kevin Kirmeyer hit a two-out shot to right-center that leapt from the short wall in front of the Red Sox bullpen, right fielder Hunter Renfro passed out and Renfro flew back into the bullpen to try to keep it in play.

It’s a good thing he didn’t: After being awarded by the umpires and going to the headsets, he awarded a ground rule double to Kirmayer and sent Diaz back to third.

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Diaz was halfway from second to third and would have easily scored a run if the ball had been in play. But Baseball Rule 5.05(a)(8) states: “Any bounding fair ball deflected by a fielder into the stands, or under or over a fence on the fair or foul area, in which case the batsman and All runners will be entitled to advance two bases.”

Nick Pivetta ends the innings by dismissing Mike Zunino, then comes on, tying the mound in celebration.

Renfro went with a dismissal in the bottom half, then Vazquez hit Luis Patino, the first pitch over Green Monster, to end it.

Kike Hernandez and Kyle Schwarber each had three hits, including a homer, for Boston.

“It doesn’t make sense to me,” Kirmeyer said after it was over. “It’s a heartbreaker, plain and simple.”

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