Mayhem ensues as grounder turns into HR

July 24th, 2021

When is a single a home run? Rays star outfielder knows: Thanks to a pair of errors by Cleveland third baseman José Ramírez, he legged out a good, old-fashioned Little League homer Friday during Tampa Bay's 10-5 win at Progressive Field.

With runners on first and second, one out and no score in the top of the second inning, Arozarena smacked a 98.3-mph grounder up the middle that evaded a lunging attempt by shortstop Amed Rosario, bringing one runner home. Just an RBI single, right? That's what it seemed, until the throw from the outfield to third base got away from Ramírez, allowing another Ray to scamper home and Arozarena to reach third.

Attempting to make the best of a bad situation, Ramírez ran after the ball and threw it home, only to have it squirt away from Indians backstop Austin Hedges and bounce all the way to the backstop. Arozarena ran home, and by the time pitcher Zach Plesac, backing up behind on the play, made his own bad throw that got loose on the infield grass, there was nobody left on the bases to score.

“In this level, you have to concentrate at all times and focus,” Arozarena said. “[After] I hit the ball, I saw the ball getting thrown to the base. I knew I could get to third. Once I saw the other [throw get away], I felt I could make it home. All I tried to do was keep my head up, concentrate and try to score if I could.”

Ramírez was charged with two errors and Arozarena was credited with a single that resulted in the Rays taking an early 3-0 lead.

“Credit [third-base coach] Rodney [Linares] for not assuming anything. The guys were ready to go,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The ball caromed off Ramírez’s foot, and everybody put pressure on the defense. We were fortunate to pick up three runs.”