John Romano | A 100-win season is in peril of ending tonight in Boston if Tampa Bay’s fortunes nothing change.

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Boston Red Sox ideal fielder Hunter Renfroe (10) chases under the ball, fight by the Rays" Kevin Kiermaier, together it hits the wall surface before bouncing off Renfroe and over the wall surface for a ground-rule double during the thirteenth inning Sunday in ~ Fenway Park. < MICHAEL DWYER | AP >
This is why we watch. This is why we care so deeply around a silly game of bats and also balls.

Also, this is why we sometimes cry.

The Rays and also Red Sox play a magnificent, five-hour postseason video game at Fenway Park top top Sunday that will be talked about for year to come. And also it will be cursed because that as lengthy as there are baseball fans still approximately in Tampa Bay.

When that was all over, the Red Sox had won video game 3 that the American League division Series 6-4 in 13 innings, putting the rays on the brink that elimination just a handful of gamings after finishing your greatest consistent season ever.

“This is what it’s all about. This is what you play for,” stated Rays centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier. “Games choose (Sunday), we’ll remember forever. That unfortunate the didn’t go our way, but you know, this is good for our (sport) come have gamings like these.”

Did the Rays play valiantly? Yes. Walk they make mistakes? Yes. Go they obtain hosed? oh yes, time a thousand.

A quirky, never-seen-that-before play in the peak of the 13th inning plunder the rays of the go-ahead operation that would certainly have changed the dynamics of whatever that followed. Significant League Baseball to be adamant that the umpires gained the call right, and Rays manager Kevin Cash did no disagree that the rule publication was interpreted correctly.

Gut. Wrenching.

— sports by Tampa Bay times (
TBTimes_Sports) October 11, 2021

But the doesn’t typical the beam weren’t robbed by fate, bad luck and — curses! — the Forrest Gump-like existence of Hunter Renfroe in rightfield.

With Yandy Diaz on an initial base and also breaking for 2nd on a two-out, full-count pitch, Kiermaier fight a bomb to right-center. The ball left his bat at 105 mph and traveled 381 feet before hitting high turn off the wall, bouncing top top the ground, ricocheting turn off Renfroe’s hip and sailing ago over the fence.

According to the dominion book, that’s a ground-rule double and Diaz should stop at third base, despite he would have scored easily if Renfroe — that was an epic disaster through the light ray in 2020 — hadn’t inadvertently knocked the ball right into the Red Sox’s bullpen.

The rule publication was clearly inadequate in this situation, despite it’s impossible to covering every potential scenario. Still, the would most likely behoove MLB to adjust the rules to give umpires a little more discretion top top ground-rule doubles with runners in motion.

“I’ve never seen that before in mine life,” said Red Sox centerfielder Enrique Hernandez, who was backing up Renfroe top top the play. “I wasn’t sure what was going to gain called. I wasn’t sure if the runners had actually to return. … I had no idea.

“Luckily, it went our way. Speak to it homefield benefit if girlfriend want, speak to it whatever you want, yet we won.”

This was our Steve Bartman moment. Our Ed Armbrister moment. Our Mickey Owen moment.

Every generation has its very own October debate that outlives everyone who claimed to have actually seen it. Girlfriend can photo it resulting in some bad soul ~ above a edge barstool in ~ Ferg’s bellowing, apropos the nothing, around ground-rule doubles ~ above a random weekday in December.

Take a moment to think around everything that had actually to occur to create that play. If Kiermaier had hit the sphere 382 feet rather of 381, that would have been a residence run. And probably nowhere else would the deflection have actually left the ar of play other than for Fenway’s notoriously brief rightfield wall. And Renfroe had to come at that precise moment and also in that exact position because that the deflection to even take place.

“It’s significant that it resolved to their benefit like that,” Kiermaier said

The beat was magnified by the enormity the the stakes involved and the drama of all that had actually preceded it. For the 2nd game in a row, Tampa Bay’s daring setup to start a talented however highly inexperienced pitcher turn disastrous.

Drew Rasmussen was pulled after ~ two-plus innings, making that his the very least successful start due to the fact that joining the rotation in mid-August. What complied with was a nail-biting procession the eight relievers who maintained the game tight while Tampa just hitters struggled to also put the ball in play.

Brandon Lowe and Mike Zunino, that finished first and 2nd on the team in slugging percentage and OPS in the constant season, walk 0-for-12 with seven strikeouts in between them.

And however the relievers maintained the score close sufficient for a float Franco homer and a Randy Arozarena RBI dual to tie the in the eighth.

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The cost, however, is the the Rays offered Luis Patino and a most other relievers that were supposed to key in game 4 today, i beg your pardon is now a do-or-die scenario because that the Rays.

“Always encouraged with this team of guys,” Cash said. “Nobody was thinking we were out of the (Sunday). We definitely don’t feel prefer we’re the end of anything. Ours goal now is let’s discover a method to acquire this back to the Trop (for a deciding game 5).”