BOSTON -- Red Sox reliever Burke Badenhop had done his job, it seemed. The Astros' Matt Dominguez grounded to short with two outs in the eighth inning and the Red Sox leading by a run on Friday night at Fenway Park. But after the bizarre sequence that followed, Houston's Gregorio Petit scored to tie the game and Boston manager John Farrell challenged two aspects of the play.
After fielding a soft line drive on a short hop, Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts flipped to second base, but Dexter Fowler was on his horse and beat the force play by a fraction of a second. Dustin Pedroia then threw home, where Petit was headed. Pinch-running for Chris Carter, Petit began the play on second and thought Bogaerts' throw was going to first.
Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez caught the throw from Pedroia and took an odd angle toward Petit, who was more than halfway down the third-base line. Vazquez's first step was toward the mound to start a rundown, and he was too far out of the base line to tag Petit, who originally began heading back toward third, but broke for home when Vazquez took himself out of position. The rookie catcher then flipped to Badenhop, who was covering the plate.
"When I looked, I saw Pedroia throwing the ball to the plate, and obviously I was going to be out. So I was trying to at least trying to get in a rundown and see what happens," Petit said after Houston's 5-3 win over Boston in 10 innings. "I saw [Vazquez] going forward a little bit and I said, 'I got some room here.' Then I see the pitcher and I just … I don't know. I tried my best to not be out. I got it."
Badenhop dropped the throw from Vazquez while trying to apply the tag and Petit tip-toed his way around Boston's pitcher to score. In approximately two minutes and 59 seconds, the umpires ruled that the call on Fowler stood and confirmed the call that Petit was safe.
"It's a tough play. I tried to do my best," Vazquez said.
"I thought initially, I didn't know that Petit got the plate from our vantage point in the dugout," Farrell said. "And then with the ability to challenge the entire play, that's where the look at second base is included in that."
Vazquez was charged with an error on the throw to Badenhop, his fourth of the season. Boston's Edward Mujica began the inning allowing singles to Carter and Fowler. Tommy Layne came on and struck out the next two batters before Dominguez's fielder's choice tied the game.
"That's pretty bizarre," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "I'll tell you, Dexter Fowler did a tremendous job of beating the force play and I think Petit and Pat thought he was going to throw the ball to first base, and that's why he rounded it so hard. He kept coming. Pedroia had a heads-up play getting the ball to the catcher. As fate would have it, the ball would end up on the ground and he ends up being safe."
Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less