WATCH: Controversial Rule Prevents Tampa Bay Rays From Taking Critical Lead Against the Boston Red Sox

Published 10/11/2021, 3:12 AM EDT
Oct 10, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Hunter Renfroe (10) watches a ground rule double hit by Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (not pictured) during the thirteenth inning in game three of the 2021 ALDS at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports


Game 3 of the American League Division Series saw an arduous battle ensue between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays. While the Red Sox claimed a stunning victory, controversy ensued late on, which changed the complexion of the game.

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The Rays fell victim to a ground-rule double in the final inning of the game, which saw a crucial run taken away from them.

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Ground-rule double aids Boston Red Sox triumph over the Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays started the match brightly, with Austin Meadows smashing a two-run home run in the first inning itself. However, the Red Sox responded almost immediately, with Kyle Schwarber scoring a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning.

They then took the lead in the bottom of the third inning, scoring two runs to take a 3-2 lead. Although the Red Sox went 4-2 up in the fifth inning, the Rays scored two runs in the seventh to tie the game at 4-4.

With the scores tied after nine innings, three extra innings couldn’t separate them as well, forcing a 13th inning. In the top of the 13th inning, Kevin Kiermaier stepped up to the plate with Yandy Diaz occupying first base.

He then smashed a pitch from Nick Pivetta far down the middle, which looked to be heading over the wall. However, the ball bounced on the ground after rebounding off the wall, and went into the Red Sox’s bullpen when it rebounded off Hunter Renfroe unintentionally.

The umpires signalled the application of the ground-rule double. This rule states that should a ball in fair play move over the wall after hitting the ground, it would count as a double. This prevented Diaz, who reached the home plate, from scoring a run which would have given the Rays a 5-4 lead.

The Red Sox would win the game in the bottom of the 13th inning, with Christian Vazquez scoring a two-run home run to give them a crucial 2-1 lead.

Kiermaier expresses disappointment after the Rays’ loss

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Although the 31-year-old acknowledged the rule, he expressed disappointment despite smashing a great hit. He said“The rules are what they are, but man, that’s a heartbreaker. I can’t believe that happened, or we don’t get the chance to score right there.

I crushed that ball, got a lot of snap and crackle with no pop, first and foremost. Yandy would have scored standing up. It’s a heartbreaker, plain and simple.”

Oct 10, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Randy Arozarena (56) hits a game tying one run double against the Boston Red Sox during the eighth inning in game three of the 2021 ALDS at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Following this loss, the Rays find themselves in a do-or-die situation in Game 4, which takes place later today in Fenway Park. Can the AL East champions find a way to force Game 5 with the Red Sox? Only time will tell.

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Sanket Nair

814 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 & US Sports Author at EssentiallySports. He began following F1 since 2010, which made him an instant Sebastian Vettel fan. His favorite tracks on the calendar include Spa-Francorchamps, Monaco and Monza.

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