Mysterious homer benefits Sox, baffles Rays

June 7th, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG -- One side said it wasn't a homer. The other side said it was -- wink, wink.

That's how Chicago second baseman 's home run to lead off Tuesday night's game was viewed following the White Sox 4-2 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.

"I saw a routine fly ball that didn't even get to the warning track," Rays starter Chris Archer said. "Probably the shortest home run in Major League history."

And Sanchez's side of the story, relayed with a smile ...

"I just hit the ball and [ran] to get a double or triple," Sanchez said. "I didn't see if the ball hit something. I don't know, but good for me."

Sanchez hit the ball to center field, and appeared to have a beat on the ball as he raced to his left. But the Rays center fielder did not.

"Just lost it the whole way," Kiermaier said. "Had a read on it, and then it just disappeared to me. Didn't see it again until it landed.

"At that point I was already in my stride and the ball was way behind me. ... I'm just trying to find it. My eyes just, it's tough sometimes, trying to find a white ball in a white roof. Right there, got exposed, and totally lost it."

With Kiermaier headed one way, and the ball headed back the other, the umpires concluded that the ball struck the "C" or "D" ring, making the ruling a home run instead of a triple, according to Tropicana Field ground rules.

The rules state that if a batted ball strikes either of the lower two catwalks (known as the 'C-Ring' and the 'D-Ring'), including any lights or suspended objects attached to either of those catwalks as well as any angled support rods that connect the 'C-Ring' to the masts that support the 'D-Ring' in fair territory, the hit is automatically called a home run.

"It went from one spot to another so it clearly hit something in that particular general area and they had ruled it as a home run," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "It took off pretty good off his bat. I didn't realize it had got the height it had reached, but again it hit what it needed to hit for us to get the call."

After a crew chief review, the ruling on the field stood as the umpires could find no video evidence to negate the call. That put the White Sox up 1-0.

"They felt that it hit off the third or fourth catwalk out there," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "The ball was not a home run. Let's be honest, it's a triple or the guy is standing on first base and they will get the run in. It probably didn't cost us too much. Irritation that it was definitely not a home run."

Kiermaier noted he "wasn't too happy with the outcome of that."

"Crazy, I don't even know what the thought process was [in] calling that a homer," Kiermaier said. "It was hit 30 feet off the ground. There was no way that was a homer. There's no way that even came close to hitting anything. So that's why I was baffled with their decision making.

"I guess they couldn't prove that it didn't hit anything, which is amazing. You would think that they would use their judgement, knowing that it didn't come close to anything. ... Would have much rather have it been an unfortunate triple and see what Arch could do with zero outs rather than lead the game off with a homer like that ... ridiculous."