Red Sox

Red Sox catch bizarre ground-rule double break, walk off same inning vs. Rays

Christian Vázquez's homer capped a wild 13th inning in Game 3.

Hunter Renfroe
A ball bounced off of Hunter Renfroe over the wall on Rays Kevin Kiermaier's double in the 13th inning. Stan Grossfeld / The Boston Globe

The Red Sox appeared to catch an enormous break on Sunday in Game 3 of the ALDS when Kevin Kiermayer’s drive to right center was ruled a ground-rule double.

With a runner on first and one out in the 13th inning, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Kiermayer hit a rocket to the wall. The ball bounced back, hit the ground and then — sparking an odd sequence — hit Hunter Renfroe. After hitting Renfroe, the ball bounded back up in the air. Renfroe tried to snare it before it went over the wall, but it landed behind the fence and out of his grasp.

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On the play, Yandy Diaz scored from first base, giving the Rays a 5-4 lead. Diaz, however, was called back to third when the ball was ruled a ground-rule double. Nick Pivetta — whose four scoreless innings may have saved the Red Sox’ season — fanned Mike Zunino to end the frame, and the Red Sox were back in business.

Rays fans were less than pleased, presumably upset that Diaz could only advance two bases since he almost certainly would have scored if the ball hadn’t gone over the fence. Some Twitter users wondered why outfielders wouldn’t just boot the ball over every chance they get if it ensures that runners only advance two bases on a double.

As it turned out, Diaz’s run wouldn’t have mattered. Renfroe drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the 13th, and Christian Vázquez launched a 394-foot homer over the Green Monster to clinch the victory.

Game 4 takes place at Fenway on Monday, starting at 7:07 p.m.

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