Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale technically surrendered four home runs on Friday night, although the one that came off of Ian Kinsler's bat only landed about halfway between home plate and the bleachers.
Judge his third-inning, inside-the-park blast for yourself:
Even for a great baserunner like Kinsler, line drives hit down the left-field line don't typically result in anything more than doubles. Chicago's Dayan Viciedo had ample time to get in front of the ball.
Unfortunately for the home team, Kinsler's hit rolled underneath the wall and abruptly stopped. Viciedo dropped to his knees, exchanged a "you've-got-to-be-kidding-me" glance with the umpires and began searching. The Texas Rangers second baseman continued sprinting, so by the time Viciedo recovered the ball, he had to rush his throw to the plate, and Kinsler scored standing up as it skipped offline.
Tater Trot Tracker shares the unofficial time of his mad dash:
Adam Rosales' HR over the fence for Texas: 16.13 secs. Ian Kinsler's inside-the-parker for Texas: 15.66 secs.— Tater Trot Tracker (@TaterTrotTrkr) August 24, 2013
Good fortune and sheer hustle can be a lethal combination. In this scenario, those factors culminated in Kinsler's 11th bomb of the season and second since the All-Star break.
However, not everybody was impressed by the feat:
Cheapest HR Kinsler will ever get. Ball never traveled 300 feet.— Doug Padilla (@ESPNChiSox) August 24, 2013
Congrats Ian Kinsler for hitting a home run that didn't even leave the field— President Raegan (@raeganbrooooke) August 24, 2013
Sale had allowed five HR total since June 25. Has allowed four tonight with an asterisk on Kinsler's— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) August 24, 2013
U.S. Cellular Field has been open for more than two decades, but apparently, nothing like this has ever transpired there. Otherwise, the ballpark's ground rules would've had a passage specifying how the umps should judge the play.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura immediately emerged from the dugout, imploring third base umpire Greg Gibson to use his common sense. The tactic didn't work, as Gibson eventually ejected him.
It's been that kind of year for Ventura's players, who buried themselves deeper in the AL Central cellar with their 75th defeat of the 2013 season.
Texas won comfortably, 11-5, but going forward, expect such plays to be ruled dead once the ball becomes trapped. Nobody wants a close game to be affected by this sort of confusion.