Kevin Kiermaier's shot from right field to the outfielder bounces off the wall and is ruled as a ground rule double by umpires. (0:47).
The American League Division Series Game 3 between the Tampa Bay Rays (Boston Red Sox) may have seen one of the most dramatic endings in postseason history. After a five-hour battle, the two teams came back in the eighth. This helped to send the game into extras. From the 10th through the 12th, neither team was able to get anything going. But then it all went downhill in the 13th.
Our team of MLB experts was asked to comment on what kind of ending baseball fans will remember for many years.
Dave Schoenfield -- What's the matter?
Yandy Diaz, who was at first base with two outs in the bottom of the 13th innings of a game that lasted 5 hours, 14 mins and featured 16 pitchers and 389 pitches was running. Kevin Kiermaier threw a 3-2 slider by Nick Pivetta from the base of the low wall right-centerfield. The ball bounced off Hunter Renfroe's legs and back onto the warning track before bouncing into the bullpens.
Make it make sense pic.twitter.com/QyLp3UTpdL Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) October 11, 2021
Diaz was already at third base, and would have scored easily had the ball stayed in play. However, after an umpire review, Diaz was sent back to third base, and Kiermaier to first. To end the threat, Pivetta struck out Mike Zunino.
Noting that rule 5.05 (a)(8) is in the rulebook, and 5.06 (b)(4)(h in the umpires' manual, say: "Any fair flyball is deflected in the stands or over a fence into foul territory by the fielder, in which case, the batter shall have second base. However, if the batter gets a fair fly ball into the stands or across the fence in fair territory, he shall have a home run."
Jose Canseco's famous Jose Canseco play would be that fly ball hitting off his head and crossing the fence for a homerun. Rule 5.05(a),(8) is used to make Kiermaier's hit. It is a ground rule double.
Luis Patino reached Renfroe in the bottom of the 13th. Christian Vazquez then made it official with a homer over the Green Monster. This was the sixth walk-off homer postseason in 13th innings.
The Red Sox won the game 6-4 and lead the series by 2-1.
Jeff Passan -- Why they did it right... but it still feels wrong
The review crew, who reviewed the play and correctly interpreted the rules, deserves all credit. The ball bounced off Renfroe's wall and traveled over the fence to the bullpen. This advanced the runners by two bases. The MLB umpiring manual also notes that there is a distinction between an outfielder fielding a ball cleanly and throwing it over the fence in a deliberate move, and the ball being thrown off the person out of play. According to the manual, if the fielder has "complete ownership", the award is two bases from where the runners were at the time that the ball was kicked. Renfroe didn't have possession. According to the rules, Renfroe did not have possession.
Many are asking: Yandy Diaz was halfway in between second and third base when Hunter Renfroe hit the ball. So why didn't he score two runs and go home? The rule is from the MLB umpire guide. It is about possession and determines when they are awarded. pic.twitter.com/FVXF20QN6Q Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 11, 2021
This means that you cannot just grab the ball and toss it into the stands, without being penalized. You must actually misfield the ball in order to be rewarded. Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 11, 2021
All of this said, it feels wrong. It would also feel wrong if the Rays were the ones that are benefiting from it. Renfroe misjudged the bounce of the ball. Renfroe didn't grab the ball with his glove or hand, but he misjudged its bounce, and it ricocheted off of his body. Renfroe did not do his job correctly, so the Red Sox were awarded.
The MLB rulebook contains many answers to what-if questions. But the game itself is the rulebook. It provides situations that no one with the most creative minds could imagine. It strives to be fair, but there will always be flaws. One of these appeared Sunday night. This might have altered the outcome of Game 3. The notion that everything would have been the same -- that Vazquez's two-run homer would have won the game 6-5 -- is false. It might end up costing Tampa Bay a trip in the AL Championship Series. The Red Sox are now leading by two games and one, and looking to close the series Monday at Fenway Park.
Joon Lee -- Fenway: What they are saying
The Rays were clearly devastated by the outcome of the play. Kiermaier was visibly upset and called the play a "heartbreaker". Kevin Cash, the manager, was not interested in stirring up controversy about the play and repeatedly cited the rulebook at his postgame news conference.
Play 1:25 Kiermaier cannot believe the rule that cost the Rays an out Kevin Kiermaier believes the double ground-rule call that cost his team a run was a "heartbreaker."
Cash stated, "It would be an easy call if someone stepped in and declared it was stating that he was going score." "Saying it, it's a rule for many years, and we're going with the rules this season."
Kiermaier stated that he expected Diaz to score, but also referred to the rulebook.
Kiermaier stated, "The rules are in effect, and I cannot sit here and oppose them." It's amazing that it worked in their favor just like that.
Vazquez's decisive homer was particularly painful. This led to a joyous celebration at Fenway Park, with a helmet being thrown in celebration, several Gatorade tub dunks, and a Red Sox team eager to take down the American League East's first-place finishers.
"We're not lucky," Vazquez said.
Enrique Hernandez, Boston's center fielder, said that "We played an excellent game." Play a good, fun game, and enjoy the elements. We won home-field advantage. We did everything we could to win the game. Got big hits, got big homers."