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Monday, June 25, 2018

Was Jacoby Ellsbury tagged out at third?

Jacoby Ellsbury third base

The Boston Red Sox benefited from a close call in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays that helped them score two extra runs.

Jacoby Ellsbury was on second with one out in the top of the fifth when Shane Victorino hit a chopper in the 5-6 hole. Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar bobbled the ball and decided to throw to third instead of first. Ellsbury didn’t slide on the play, perhaps thinking Escobar would be going to first. It looked like Evan Longoria may have tagged him out, though the umpire ruled Ellsbury was safe on the bang-bang play (replay evidence probably was not conclusive enough to overturn anyway had manager Joe Maddon been able to challenge).

On the next batter, Alex Cobb threw a wild pitch that allowed Ellsbury to score and Victorino to move up to second. Dustin Pedroia grounded out for the second out, then David Ortiz followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0. Mike Napoli grounded out to end the inning.

Had Ellsbury been called out, the inning would have ended on Pedroia’s ground out and the score would have remained 1-0. Longo’s 3-run home run in the bottom of the inning would have given the Rays a 3-1 lead instead of tying the score.

With games this close in the postseason, those calls make a huge difference.

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