BOSTON -- New Red Sox left fielder Franchy Cordero got his formal introduction to the Green Monster with a clutch catch against the scoreboard on a ball hit by Manuel Margot, which turned into a double play to end the top of the seventh inning on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
How big a play was it in the context of Boston’s eventual thrilling 6-5 victory over the Rays in 12 innings?
“Franchy saves the game with the defense,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “That was a game-changer.”
Cordero jumped in the air and somehow came down with the baseball before firing to second base, where shortstop Xander Bogaerts retrieved it and stepped on the bag to end the frame, with the Red Sox trailing, 3-1 at the time.
But here’s the thing: Did the left fielder actually catch the ball before it hit the scoreboard, or was it the other way around?
It was tough to tell, but Cordero got the benefit of the call on the field and it was upheld after a review of one minute and 18 seconds. Though many of the replays sure made it look like a clean catch, some audio evidence might say otherwise. Whether you were at Fenway Park or watching on television, you could hear a loud tin clang just as the ball settled into Cordero’s glove, but there's no way to tell for sure whether that sound came just before or after the ball found a home in the glove.
“It did sound like it [hit the wall], but I'm sure MLB had plenty of camera angles to say that it didn't,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “From our vantage point, we felt like it hit. I think even in replay, we felt like it hit."
The Red Sox, as you might expect, felt otherwise.
“His reaction right away, I knew he had it,” Cora said. “There was a lot of people running around. We were just trying to tell Xander to step on the bag. Off the bat, I thought it was over the wall, and all of a sudden he made the play.”
J.D. Martinez likely never gets the chance to clock the walk-off, two-run double if not for the snag by Cordero.
“The play off the wall that Franchy made was a big one. That really kept the game within reach,” Martinez said.