Rays robbed of run on controversial ground-rule double in 13th inning
Red Sox relief pitcher Nick Pivetta reacts after striking out Rays first baseman Jordan Luplow (not pictured) to end the top half of the 11th inning in Game 3 of the 2021 ALDS at Fenway Park. Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays were robbed of a run thanks to a fluke on a ground-rule double at Fenway Park on Sunday night.

Kevin Kiermaier was batting in the top of the 13th inning of Game 3 of the ALDS between his Rays and the Boston Red Sox with the game tied at four. Yandy Diaz was the runner on first and there were two outs.

Kiermaier hit a ball off the wall in right field. The ball bounced off the wall and then caromed off Hunter Renfroe’s body and bounced back over the wall.

The ruling was a ground-rule double, which is the correct call. But the question became whether Diaz should have been placed back on third base or been credited with a run.

Had the ball not bounced over the field, Diaz almost certainly would have scored. However, the rule states that if a fair ball hits off a fielder and goes out of play, the runners should advance two bases.

Had the umpires been allowed to use their judgement, they might have given Diaz and the Rays the run. But sticking to the rule, they had to put Diaz back at third.

And guess what? Nick Pivetta struck out Mike Zunino to end the inning. Then Christian Vazquez hit a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the inning to win the game and give Boston a 2-1 series lead.

What an awful break for the Rays. Not only were they robbed of the run, but they would have had a chance to add to their lead too with Kiermaier in scoring position and momentum on their side.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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