It was chaos at Fenway Park in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday night: With the bases loaded and the score tied, Mike Carp hit a screaming line drive to shallow left field. Dustin Pedroia started to run home, then realized he ought to tag up at third base first.
Outfielder David Lough made a catch and threw hard toward the infield, but his trajectory was off — it actually whizzed by Pedroia's head as he was returning to the third-base bag. Infielder Jonathan Schoop was in position to cut off the throw and possibly relay home in time to get Pedroia — or at least keep him on the bag. Instead, he got confused and didn't catch the ball, which soon was rolling loose behind home plate. Schoop said later he should have cut off the throw. Pitcher Darren O'Day chased the ball, but nobody backing up could have been ready for just how "off" Lough's throw was.
Pedroia later admitted he was caught off guard by the sequence.
"I was a little nervous when he threw it that I was going to be out at third, so there was a lot going on," Pedroia said. "All their outfielders have great arms, so you have to get a great jump for situations like that. We just lucked out."
Pedroia crossed home plate well before an attempt to tag him could be made by catcher Matt Wieters. The Red Sox celebrated as Orioles manager Buck Showalter stopped the umpires to ask if it were possible Pedroia didn't properly tag up. But he did, and that kind of play is not allowed to be reviewed by instant replay.
''They've got some really strange things you can't appeal,'' Showalter said of the play, saying he was wondering if all the runners had tagged. ''David made a heck of a play there at the end, just threw it a little wildly.''
Game over. Boston Red Sox 6, Baltimore Orioles 5 after the visitors had been charged with three errors — and had made a few more mental ones. The Red Sox had rebounded from a 5-0 deficit. And it seemed like a game that, if Manny Machado were healthy and playing third base for the Orioles, they would have won. And now for a quick turnaround:
The early Patriots Day start had Buchholz, Lackey and Napoli spend the night in the #RedSox clubhouse after Sunday Night game
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 21, 2014
MASSACHUSETTS TRANSFER: Pedroia nearly won the game leading off the inning with a home run, but video review was inconclusive after his drive off the top of the Green Monster was interfered with by a fan reaching over. That call went against the Red Sox, but they were happy that a transfer call went in their
favor in the seventh when Orioles infielder Ryan Flaherty dropped a potential force play at second base in trying to turn a double play. MLB reportedly is working on tweaking the rule so that it's more "common sense" judgment than "textbook" but until then, Showalter said there's no use in challenging it.
JONNY COMES MARCHING HOME:
Don't forget Jonny Gomes, who started the Red Sox comeback with a three-run homer in the sixth against Ubaldo Jimenez.
J.J. HARDY IS HARDLY SURE WHAT O'S ARE THINKING: Not only were the Orioles without Machado, they lost shortstop J.J. Hardy to a hamstring injury in the seventh inning. Hardy's most recent injury (he's been dealing with back spasms) only messes with Baltimore's defense and further clouds his future with the club. O's brass might be having second thoughts about Hardy long-term, as they have not been talking contract extension as they said they would. Via Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore:
“It just makes me curious. I don’t understand what happened within the month or two that there was going to be talk, and all of a sudden there’s not. It just makes me curious,” Hardy said.
In July 2011, Hardy signed a three-year contract extension with the Orioles. Many players don’t want to engage in contract talks once the regular season begins.
“That would be ideal, for sure. Obviously, that’s not the situation, but that would have been ideal,” Hardy said.
Hardy has missed six games with back spasms, and in his first 10 games, he’s batting .244 with no home runs and three RBIs.
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