The New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox rivalry has seen some of baseball’s best moments … and whatever happened on Friday at Fenway Park.
With two runners on and one out in the third inning, Yankees outfielder Joey Gallo hit a fly ball to right field. It was not a very good fly ball. It should have been well within range for any right fielder worth his salt; MLB’s Statcast gave it an xBA of .010. Basically, a one percent chance of being a hit.
That routine fly ball turned into an adventure, however, when Red Sox right fielder Christian Arroyo showed the body language you never want to see if you’re the home team. He clearly lost the ball in the lights, and could only sprint backwards once it landed behind him.
Both baserunners scored in the ensuing confusion, but Arroyo found redemption when he made a strong throw to the cutoff man, whose relay nabbed Gallo at home as he tried for an inside-the-park home run.
The end result of the play: a triple and a TOOTBLAN for Gallo, two runs and an out for the Yankees and a win for chaos. Balls lost in the lights or sun are typically not charged as errors for fielders, absolving Arroyo of blame for the hit. At least, officially.
You may not be surprised to learn this is Arroyo’s first season playing any kind of outfield in his professional career. After playing mostly third base and second base since being drafted, he has been worth -3 outs above average in 104 innings played in right field entering Friday, per Statcast.
Even though he was thrown out, the RBI triple was a welcome sight from Gallo, who entered the game hitting .165/.286/.335 with 10 homers and 92 strikeouts in 234 plate appearances for the 60-23 Yankees.
New York ended up winning 12-5 and moving 15.5 games ahead of the second-place Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. The Red Sox are 16 games back.