Watch Christian Vazquez drill umpire Joe West with a baseball

West's delayed reaction saved the Red Sox a base.

Joe West
Houston's Jake Marisnick steals second base while a throw from Sandy Leon to Brock Holt hits umpire Joe West. –Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

Joe West has a history of helping the Red Sox in the playoffs. The veteran umpire was the crew chief for Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series, when he reversed two calls to help the Red Sox to a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees.

On Saturday night, West again gave Boston a boost in an ALCS matchup. The Houston Astros were leading 3-2 in the top of the eighth inning when center fielder Jake Marisnick attempted to steal second base. Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez tried to find Brock Holt with his throw from behind the plate, but instead drilled the second base umpire — West — in the shoulder.


The Fenway Park fans booed the play, likely thinking the umpire had gotten in the way of a potential tag. However, replays revealed Vazquez’s throw was nowhere near Holt and would have sailed into center field had West not acted as a backboard for the play. West’s delayed reaction saved the Red Sox from Marisnick advancing to third base.

Martín Maldonado grounded into a double play to end the inning for the Astros.


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