Red Sox win despite (and thanks to) chaotic 9th inning

Jim Rogash

Dustin Pedroia took advantage of a poor throw to end the game.

The ninth inning of Sunday's Red Sox was not an easy one to watch for fans of either team. With the score tied 5-5, the clock already nearing 11 pm eastern, and both the Red Sox and Orioles roughly 12 hours away from starting Monday morning's Patriots' Day game, the contest in question refused to end with any sort of normalcy.

Dustin Pedroia had what very well could have been a home run to win the game for the Red Sox, but a fan interfered by reaching to catch it before it had landed:


While it's difficult to see how close it was to being a homer from that initial angle, this slow-motion replay does the trick -- remember, above the painted line is a home run.


A discussion was initiated, review ensued, and Pedroia remained on second base instead of coming home with the game-winner. Brian Matusz stayed in the game for the Orioles with lefty David Ortiz coming to the plate, but that didn't work out so well for Baltimore: Matusz ended up throwing a pitch in the dirt that helped Pedroia get to third -- three-quarters of the way to the homer he could have had! -- and then intentionally walked him to face Napoli rather than throw a strike to Ortiz in a high-leverage situation.

Darren O'Day would come on in relief of Matusz, and his sidearm delivery released a fastball that smashed into Napoli's knee:


If Napoli had ended up injured thanks to this, we could have all thanked that fan for reaching over the Wall to try to grab a souvenir, since this situation only existed thanks to their involvement on the field. Napoli would stay in the game, however, (and is in Monday's lineup as well) and the bases were now loaded for pinch-hitter Mike Carp with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Then, this happened:

Poor Jonathan Schoop is not a third baseman even if he's playing there, and his failure to cutoff David Lough's throw helped cost the Orioles the game. I say "helped", because Lough's throw was clearly off target to begin with, and Schoop's opportunity was to salvage it and get the ball home more than anything. He didn't, though, and Pedroia finally made it home like he nearly had at the beginning of the inning.

The video above does not show the replays, but O's manager Buck Showalter was talking with the umpires about whether the runners had tagged up or not before Pedroia ran home. Pedroia is seen running back towards third at the moment of contact, so we're left to assume he tagged up and then moved off of the base once the throw was in the air, stepping back when he thought Schoop was going to catch it then dashing home once Pedroia realized Schoop would not. It's safe to assume that's what happened mostly because the players left the field, Showalter's argument ended, and the Red Sox had a W added to their record.

The excitement is great and all, but maybe y'all can play a slightly more straightforward affair on Monday morning for Patriots' Day. Pedroia can go chasing after his helmet all awkwardly again any time he wants, though:


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