“It’s a ball, it’s a squirrel”…Reilly hits a lucky pinch-hit grounder
By Joohee Kim = Luke Reilly (Tampa Bay Rays) was fortunate to hit a pinch-hit inside-the-park home run (groundball) thanks to two bounces off the fence.
Reilly came to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the sixth inning of the Rays’ 5-0 win over the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park in San Francisco, California, USA, on Sunday.
Facing reliever Ross Stripling, Reilly took a first-pitch slider. The pitch sailed straight down the line toward the outfield.
Then, a rare sight happened.
After hitting the top of the right-field fence and bouncing, the ball dropped down the left-field line and bounced back up to hit the top of the center-field fence.
By the time San Francisco right fielder Michael Conforto and center fielder Wade Meckler followed to catch the grounder, Reilly had already rounded second and third.
The pinch-hit inside-the-park home run was a first for Tampa Bay.
As MLB.com notes, “Railey’s shot to deep right-center field would have easily cleared the fence if it had traveled 425 feet (about 130 meters), as the statcast predicted. But not at Oracle Park.”
Oracle Park has a somewhat unique outfield layout. The right field fence is short (94 meters) from home plate, making the right-center field area known as “triple alley”. Instead, the right field fence is somewhat taller. The center field fence is 6 meters high and the right field fence is 7 meters high.
“Hitting an inside-the-park home run in the major leagues usually requires a lot of speed and a little luck,” USA Today wrote of the shot, “but Reilly got a special kind of luck.온라인바카
“It looked like a mouse running over the fence,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said of Railey’s hit.
Teammate Brandon Lowe likened the hit to “a squirrel and a cat jumping over a wall,” adding, “I’d like to know how long the ball was on the wall, because it felt like it was on the wall forever. I didn’t know if it was actually going to go over (the fence) or if it was going to come back, but it ended up working out in the end.”
“I haven’t hit an inside-the-park home run since Little League,” Reilly said, smiling broadly at his first major league accomplishment.