MLB

MLB playoffs 2021: Red Sox edge Rays in wild 13th inning, White Sox stay alive

By Sports Desk October 10, 2021

A Christian Vazquez home run in bottom of the 13th inning gave the Boston Red Sox a 6-4 walk-off win over the Tampa Bay Rays, who believed they had taken the lead in the top half of the inning only to see their hopes dashed. 

Sunday's win gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the American League Division Series (ALDS) in the best-of-five series, and Boston can close it out with a victory at Fenway Park on Monday.

That outcome seemed unlikely in the top of the 13th inning after Tampa Bay's Kevin Kiermaier drove a ball off the top of the wall in right field with Yandy Diaz running from first base. 

With Diaz about to round third and head for home, the ball caromed off Boston right fielder Hunter Renfroe's right hip and back over the wall. 

After all six umpires consulted as a group and two of them talked to MLB replay officials afterward, they put Kiermaier at second base and Diaz at third, and Mike Zunino struck out for the fourth time in the game to end the threat with the scored still tied 4-4. 

The umpires made the correct call, with MLB Rule 5.05(a)(8) stating "the batter and all runners shall be entitled to advance two bases" when a fielder deflects a fair ball over a fence, but the Rays felt hard done by considering Diaz would have scored easily on the play.

Umpire Sam Holbrook told reporters afterward it was "very simple from an umpire's standpoint", noting that they would only have been able to exercise their own discretion about where to place the runners if they determined Renfroe knocked the ball out of play intentionally. 

Rays manager Kevin Cash did not argue once umpires explained the situation to him, but his team could not extend the game from there. 

In the bottom of the 13th, Renfroe walked with one out and Vazquez homered to end it, becoming the first Red Sox player to hit a play-off walk-off homer since Marry Ramirez in 2007.

Despite a shaky start in Chicago, the White Sox stayed alive in their best-of-five series with an action-packed 12-6 win over the Houston Astros. 

White Sox starter Dylan Cease recorded only five outs before being pulled from the game as the Astros built a 5-1 lead after the top of the third inning with their eyes on a sweep. 

The Chicago offence suddenly woke up, exploding for five runs in the bottom of the inning on homers by Yasmani Grandal and Leury Garcia, then adding three more the following inning. 

By the time Chicago tacked on an additional three runs in the eighth, every hitter in the White Sox line-up had recorded at least one hit as they scored double-digit runs in a postseason game for the third time in franchise history, after 2005 (14) and 1959 (11).

 

Rays at Red Sox

Tampa Bay (100-62) won five more games than anyone else in the American League (AL) during the regular season, but the Rays' postseason could come to an end with a loss to the Red Sox in Game 4 on Monday. 

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