CROW WORTHY

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From Sports Seriously, USA TODAY

The Boston Red Sox: Lucky and Good

What a game that was last night between the Sox and Rays. The 13-inning heart-pounder culminated in a Christian Vazquez walk-off bomb. This was preceded by four scoreless relief innings from Nick Pivetta, who struck out seven. That’s big-time October baseball right there.

These are some of the “good” aspects of last night’s game.

There was also some luck.

The Ground Rule Double

This was one hell of a break in the top half of the 13th with the game tied 4-4. Hunter Renfroe ran way too close to the wall on Kevin Kiermaier’s two-out rope into the gap, presumably in an effort to make the catch. He didn’t get there in time, and was then stuck between a rock and a hard place as he helplessly tried to field a ball caroming off the wall a few feet from him. It went from the wall to the warning track to Renfroe’s right hip, which then sent it over the wall for a ground rule double. Kiermaier was put on second and the go-ahead runner on first had to go to third (he likely would have scored). Pivetta then struck out Mike Zunino to end the threat with two men on. Vazquez won it in the bottom half of the inning.

The baseball gods looked favorably upon the Red Sox last night.

If Renfroe plays this ball properly the run probably scores, as it wouldn’t have been a ground rule double. Who knows how the next half inning would have played out if the Rays had the lead? The Red Sox played a great game, make no mistake. But Lady Luck took in a baseball game at Fenway last night.

Driver’s Seat

The Rays really needed to win this game. No team relies on their bullpen more than they do. A 13-inning loss in a game in which they burnt through nine pitchers stings; they just don’t have a lot of innings eaters that can save the pen.

What’s more, they’re facing elimination. They can’t afford to eat innings now, as the next two games are must wins for them. The Red Sox pitching staff is less gassed than Tampa Bay’s and they are riding two straight wins, the last of which was a heartbreaker. The Rays are a resilient bunch, but I expect the Sox to close it out in Fenway tonight. That would be two division rivals sent packing in the last week.

Team of destiny?