It’s fitting the Boston Marathon was occurring the day after the Red Sox defeated the Rays 6-4 in a game that felt like 26.2 miles of emotions. Christian Vazquez called game in the 13th inning with a two-run walk-off homer to put Boston up 2-1 in the American League Division Series.
This was not the only storyline from the game that contributed to the win, but the catcher showed the ice in his veins to a sold-out Fenway Park crowd.
Playoff Nate and Nick
The Boston Red Sox were able to beat the Tampa Bay Rays because of an excellent start from Nathan Eovaldi and a dominant relief performance from Nick Pivetta. Eovaldi allowed two runs on three hits and pitched for five innings.
He fanned eight batters and walked one before being pulled by Alex Cora. Tampa Bay’s inability to build an early lead cost them down the stretch because Pivetta held strong in a relief that resembled a starting performance.
Pivetta threw 67 pitches over four innings, allowing three hits and no runs. The whole pitching staff struck out 20 total batters, the fourth most in playoff baseball history. This mark also set a Red Sox postseason record that was previously set in game five of the 2004 ALCS.
Enrique Hernandez has led Boston’s offense throughout the ALDS, and his performance propelled the team to victory on Sunday. In game two, he went 5 for 6 with a homer and three doubles.
In game three, he was 3 for 6 with a double and a home run. Vazquez may have ended the game, but Hernandez put the team in a position to win the game with his outstanding performance. Between games two and three, he had hits in seven consecutive at-bats, setting a franchise postseason record.
Christian Vazquez to the Moon
The 13th inning drama started to unfold when there were two outs, and a controversial play occurred in the outfield. Kevin Kiermaier hit a ball off the right field wall, rebounding Hunter Renfroe, leaving the yard. Yandy Diaz was on first when this occurred, so the ground-rule double would have sent him to third.
However, if the ball did not kick off Renfroe, Diaz would have scored with ease. There was a long debate amongst the umpires, which ultimately ended with the crew calling New York.
“MLB rule 5.05(a)(8) says when “any bounding fair ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands, or over or under a fence on fair or foul territory, (the) batter and all runners shall be entitled to two bases.”
Renfroe did not intentionally send the ball over the fence, so the ground-rule double was in effect. This brought Mike Zunino to the plate with two outs, and Pivetta was able to retire the side, giving Boston an opportunity to win.
On the first pitch of the at-bat, Vazquez took a 96 mph fastball over the Green Monster and securing a series lead for the Red Sox. The crowd erupted, and the team mobbed the catcher as he crossed home.
Game four is scheduled for 7:08 PM ET on Monday. Eduardo Rodriguez will take the mound looking to send Boston to the American League Championship Series.