When a baseball player swings the bat, connects with the ball and knocks it out of the park on the fly, that is, by definition, a home run.
See, if you’ve got guys on base with you, you still have to follow all the standard rules governing any hit that advances runners, even one that should be as easy as a conga line to follow around the bases with the defense taken out of the equation.
Let’s back up a little and set the scene, because it makes a little more sense in context.
Chicago’s Jose Abreu hit a home run that just barely made it over the wall.
Tim Anderson, his teammate, was on first base, and unsure if the ball would go for a home run, he retreated back to first to potentially tag up or at least avoid being thrown out on a fly ball double play had the ball stayed in the park and been caught.
Either Anderson didn’t see Abreu already rounding the bases or Abreu didn’t see Anderson holding back, but signals got crossed, Abreu passed his teammate on the basepaths, and upon further review of instant replay, Abreu was ruled out on the play, the official scorer forced to rule the play a two-run single.
The single was given on the furthest-base-reached principle, the same as if, for example, Abreu had hit a single and been thrown out by an outfielder as he attempted to get to second base for a double. He still gets credit for the hit.
Watch for yourself:
Abreu took full responsibility for his miscue on the basepaths.
“I made a mistake. … It was my mistake,” Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo, according to MLB.com. “When I hit the ball, I just thought it was a regular fly ball to the warning track and I didn’t see TA. I take full responsibility for that. I felt bad, but we won the game and that’s what matters.”
Anderson, on the other hand, showed culpability of his own.
“I’ve never seen that. That was crazy. That was different,” Anderson said. “He kind of shocked me. I didn’t expect him to be that far. But we were able to get the win. So, it was good.”
This was a wild game for the White Sox. They trailed 8-1 and 9-2 earlier in the game but had pulled all the way back to 10-9 when Abreu’s homer-that-wasn’t made the score 11-10.
That missing run nearly ended up costing the White Sox the game; Chicago took to the batter’s box in the bottom of the ninth tied at 11 before Anderson — the same Tim Anderson who’d been passed on the basepaths when he lost track of the ball on Abreu’s non-homer homer — left absolutely nothing to chance when he hit a walkoff homer.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 27, 2019
Anderson has been a monster hitter for the White Sox this season — he has got an OPS over 1.000 — so it’s fitting that he provided the redemption for that final 12-11 score.
Abreu was quick to praise his teammates for keeping him from becoming more of a part of the whole-game story than he might’ve become had the White Sox lost.
“It was just a crazy game,” Abreu said. “But I think all the guys stayed positive about the game and they didn’t quit. And at the end, we got the win.”
White Sox manager Rick Renteria was a bit perplexed but ultimately good-humored about the result.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen it,” Renteria said. “[Abreu] got lost in the emotion a little bit. Tim was still playing the game, he saw the ball deep, he thought he would have to tag up, and retreated. Pito passed him up.”
The bats were hot for Chicago and Detroit on Friday, but they’re going to be cold on Saturday, because the White Sox-Tigers game has been postponed on account of snow.
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