BOSTON -- The Red Sox nearly struck first Friday night against Felix Hernandez and the Mariners when Xander Bogaerts ripped an 0-2 inside fastball down the line, but well above the foul pole and Green Monster in left during the second inning.
Third-base umpire Pat Hoberg called the sky-high fly ball foul initially. Boston skipper John Farrell came out to discuss the call and the umpires initiated a Crew Chief review. Article II, Section C.2 of baseball's replay rule regulations states that "except in the case of potential home run calls, the Crew Chief shall not initiate Replay Review of any play or call if the requesting Manager has a Manager Challenge remaining." That's why the Red Sox didn't need to use their challenge, which they would exercise successfully in the top of the fourth.
After a three minute and 12 second review of Bogaerts' fly ball, the call on the field stood. Although it appeared the ball flew directly over the foul pole for a solo home run, umpires could not find conclusive evidence to overturn the call, likely because it was so high above the pole.
"We asked for a replay because just to the naked eye, it looked like it crossed the foul pole," Farrell said. "Even the replays they showed on the scoreboard in the ballpark said the same, but that wasn't the case after it was reviewed."
Hernandez finished striking out the side by getting Bogaerts to swing through a 1-2 changeup two pitches later. And with two outs and a runner on first in the top of the fourth, replay was needed again.
Kendrys Morales hit a line drive to left-center field that Mookie Betts dove for at full extension. Hoberg, from third base, originally ruled that Betts did not make the catch, but instead trapped the ball as he dove head first to make the play. Farrell challenged the play.
Following a one minute and five second review, the call was overturned and it saved Boston a run. On that play, Betts got up and began jogging in while showing the umpires his glove. Moments later, Betts realized Hobert signaled that the ball wasn't dead and the center fielder sailed his throw over catcher Christian Vazquez. Dustin Ackely scored on the play, but the run was erased after the review and the game remained scoreless.
The Red Sox are now 15-12 (55 percent) on challenges this season. Entering Friday, the league average of successful challenges was a shade over 47 percent.
Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less