Edwin Ríos was the first batter for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 13th inning against the Houston Astros Wednesday ― yet he managed to hit a 2-run home run to put LA ahead, 4-2.
Mathematically impossible, right? Well, not this year.
In a rules change for the coronavirus pandemic-shortened season, a runner is placed on second base at the start of every extra half-inning to promote scoring and shorten the game. (A similar rule has been used in the minor leagues.)
So Ríos’ blast actually happened with a teammate aboard, making him the first major leaguer to hit a two-run home run to lead off an inning, according to MLB.com.
The Dodgers hung on for a 4-2 victory over the Astros for a two-game sweep. It was their first meeting since the Astros were found to have illegally stolen signs in the 2017 season, which ended with a World Series victory over the Dodgers.
Ríos said he was just looking to hit a ground ball.
“I was able to work a pretty good count, get my pitch and I was able to do some damage,” he told reporters in the video below.
He conceded that the new rule was “weird.”
Yet on Wednesday, “weird” was a good thing for the Dodgers.
Tuesday’s game was eventful for a different reason. LA pitcher Joe Kelly threw near the head of Astros batters Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa (with a breaking ball for the latter). “Nice swing, bitch” he reportedly told Correa after striking him out out. The benches emptied. No punches thrown.
The pitcher was presumably retaliating for the Astros’ cheating, but denies it. Kelly, who was not on the Dodgers then, is appealing his eight-game suspension.
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