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5 more things about Monday’s wild Rays-Red Sox game

Nelson Cruz did one thing that hadn’t happened since at least 1961, Austin Meadows another for the first time since 2008.
The Rays' Austin Meadows drops his bat as he watches his game-tying, inside-the-park home run during the ninth inning of Monday's victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
The Rays' Austin Meadows drops his bat as he watches his game-tying, inside-the-park home run during the ninth inning of Monday's victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. [ WINSLOW TOWNSON | AP ]
Published Sep. 7
Updated Sep. 7

Rays outfielder Austin Meadows called Monday’s 11-10, 10-inning victory over the Red Sox the Rays’ “biggest win of the year.” It also was historic, as some research shows:

• Nelson Cruz didn’t just get the Rays back into the game with the ball he hit off the centerfield wall with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. All three runners scored, and when Cruz trotted home after an errant relay throw to third by Taylor Motter, Boston’s lead was cut to 7-5. With the “help” of the official scorer, who first ruled it a triple and then changed the call to a three-base error on centerfielder Alex Verdugo, Cruz and the Rays made history. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time since at least 1961 that a single play yielded four runs without the benefit of a hit. (That could change if the Rays successfully appeal the decision and it is changed back to a triple, as Cruz referred to it during his postgame interview.)

• Meadows also made some history with his inside-the-park home run that evened the game at 9 in the ninth. That’s because it was the first game-tying, inside-the-park homer in the ninth inning or later by any team since May 27, 2008, when Kansas City’s Mark Teahen did it in the ninth against Minnesota. Meadows was the third Ray to hit an inside-the-park homer this season (joining Kevin Kiermaier and Brett Phillips), most of any team. Meadows also is the third Ray ever to hit an inside-the-park homer at Fenway Park, joining Kiermaier (2014) and Denard Span (2018).

• How rare is it to come back from a deficit of six or more runs and win? In their 24 seasons the Rays have played 521 games when falling behind by at least six and, per STATS LLC, have now won 12, a .023 winning percentage. The last time the Rays did so before Monday was Aug. 6, 2019 against Toronto, when they were down 6-0 in the fourth and ended up winning 7-6 in 10 innings. Monday was the 70th time they had been down that much to the Red Sox and the first time they ended up with a victory. Before that, their largest comeback win at Fenway was from four runs down, in 2016 and 2002. (The Sox hadn’t blown a six-run lead at home since June 22, 2019, when they led the Blue Jays 6-0 in the fourth and lost 8-7.)

• Not all of the Rays’ majors-leading 43 come-from-behind wins have been dramatic, but they’ve had a bunch. Especially on the road. Monday’s game was the 11th time this season they came back from three or more runs down when on the road, per STATS LLC, matching the 2001 Reds for most in the modern era. The 1938 Brooklyn Dodgers and 1999 New York Yankees did it 10 times each.

• Meadows had some help in delivering his first inside-the-park home run. He looked to be fidgeting with something just before stepping to the plate in the ninth and lacing the ball off the centerfield wall. Turns out, he had misplaced the rubber thumb guard he uses when he hits, so he quickly borrowed one from Kiermaier. “I couldn’t find mine, and I panicked,” Meadows said. “So I asked him if I could use his. So I might have to pay some money to keep that thumb guard, because (of) that inside-the-park homer. But we’ll see how that goes.”

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