BOSTON— One of the craziest ninth innings of the season unfolded in the Royals’ 8-6 win over the Red Sox on a misty Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park
With the Royals trailing, 6-4, Royals second baseman Omar Infante hit a ball to the warning track in left field that bounced off the Green Monster and then eluded Red Sox left fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. As Bradley finally retrieved the ball in deep left-center field, Infante was being waved home by Royals third-base coach Mike Jirschele.
“I thought it was a great send until I saw that missile coming home,” Jirschele said.
Indeed, Bradley fired a strike from well over 300 feet away and the ball hopped in to catcher Ryan Hanigan, who easily tagged out Infante, who came up short of the plate in his slide.
Royals manager Ned Yost challenged the play -- both the tag and the possibility that Hanigan illegally blocked the plate. After a review, the out call was confirmed and no evidence of blocking was determined.
“Our [dugout] phone was jacked up and we couldn’t get any connection [to our review room],” Yost said. “So I just went out and said check it all -- blocking [the plate] and the tag. You try.”
The Royals were amazed by Bradley’s throw.
“I know he’s got a great arm,” third baseman Mike Moustakas said, “but I haven’t seen a throw like that in a long time. ... If not ever.”
Said Hanigan, “It was a pretty long throw to think he even had a chance to throw someone out and put it on the plate. But it worked out.”
Bradley said he just wanted to make an accurate throw.
“The grass was wet,” Bradley said. “I just wanted to give [Hanigan] a chance.”
Jirschele was concerned Yost would be upset for sending a runner down by two runs and with none out, and even said that when he got to the dugout he asked Ned, “You wanna fire me now or later?”
But Yost agreed with the send.
“I said, ‘Dude, I was screaming to send him,’” Yost said. “That was just a great throw. A great arm.”
Fortunately for Jirschele, the Royals’ bats didn’t quit in the ninth. They loaded the bases and with two outs, Eris Hosmer ripped a two-run single to left -- again Jirschele challenged Bradley, sending Alcides Escobar, who scored somewhat easily with the tying run from second.
“A good throw and [Bradley] gets me again,” Jirschele said.
Two hitters later, Moustakas doubled in the go-ahead runs and the four-run rally was complete. But not before another Royals runner -- Kendrys Morales -- got thrown out at the plate.
“I have no problem with that,” Yost said. “A good third-base coach makes the other team make great plays.”