Terrible Boston Red Sox Defense Leads To ‘Little League Home Run’ For Tampa Bay Rays

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Everyone knows about the “Little League Home Run.” If somehow you don’t, let me enlighten you. It occurs when a player puts a ball in play, generally not very far, and ends up scoring on the same play. That nearly never happens in the Major Leagues. But it did happen for the Tampa Bay Rays against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.

With Rays hitter Yandy Diaz at the plate and Manuel Margot on first base, Tampa Bay put on a hit-and-run play. There were two outs in the inning, so Tampa tried to manufacture some offense. And boy, did it ever work.

Diaz perfectly executed the hit-and-run, bouncing the ball right into the spot vacated by the second baseman, who was covering second for the steal. Margot, using heads-up base running, just never stopped running.

Yandy Diaz of the Tampa Bay Rays perfectly executed a hit-and-run against the Boston Red Sox.
Yandy Diaz of the Tampa Bay Rays perfectly executed a hit-and-run against the Boston Red Sox. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

He immediately headed to third and as right fielder Alex Verdugo tossed the ball into second, Margot kept motoring and headed for the plate. Red Sox second baseman Enmanuel Valdez grabbed the throw and tried to nab Margot at the plate.

But Margot scored easily and as the throw went to the play, Diaz took off for second. Red catcher Connor Wong came off the plate, caught the throw and fired to second to try and get Diaz. But the terrible throw skipped into center field.

As the ball trundled toward the wall, Diaz headed to third and eventually scored. A routine base hit to right field turned into two runs for the Tampa Bay Rays.

First, credit to Tampa Bay. This is textbook on executing a hit-and-run from Yandy Diaz. Plus, Margot never slowed down and forced the Red Sox to make a play. As did Diaz by taking off for second after the throw to the plate.

But really, this comes down to just horrible execution by the Boston Red Sox. Alex Verdugo got to the base hit relatively quickly, but he threw it into second base. With Margot running full-speed into third, the Sox needed to set up a cutoff to home.

Instead, they left themselves well out of position, forcing Verdugo to throw the ball into second base. At that point, everything unravels. The throw to home plate was well wide and had no chance to get Margot.


Wong tried make a throw while running towards first and never got himself in a good position to make the throw. The throw was terrible, but Red Sox shortstop Enrique Hernandez made very little effort to knock the ball down.

The throw wasn’t going to get Diaz, but it should not have left the infield.

This is a bit of a microcosm as to why the Rays lead the Red Sox by 11 games in the AL East. They won 6-2 Sunday.

Perfect execution by the Tampa Bay Rays, terrible execution by the Red Sox.

One team is in first place and one is in last.

Can you guess which is which?

Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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