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.