BOSTON -- A rule that has ignited a great deal of discussion in the opening few weeks of the 2014 season played into the hands of the Red Sox late in Sunday's 6-5 win over Baltimore.
With one out in the seventh inning and Brock Holt on first base, Grady Sizemore slapped a ground ball back to reliever Zach Britton. The pitcher's throw was on the money to shortstop Ryan Flaherty, but as he transferred the ball from his glove to his throwing hand, it fell to the ground.
This season, umpires are re-enforcing the rule emphasizing that fielders maintain possession as they transfer. As a result, Holt was ruled safe and the Red Sox continued the inning with two on and one out.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter came out to discuss the call, but no change was made. He didn't even argue that aggressively. Around the league, players and managers alike are starting how plays will be called if a ball is dropped soon after it's apparently caught.
Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz followed the controversial call with singles to score one run. Mike Napoli grounded into a fielder's choice next. An error from third baseman Jonathan Schoop on his throw home allowed Sizemore to score and tie the game at 5-5.
Asked if the transfer rule should be adjusted, Red Sox manager John Farrell didn't say much.
"I think that's being discussed right now," he explained. "To what extent or when any potential adjustments might come down, we don't know that yet."
Even though the Red Sox benefited from it on Sunday, Dustin Pedroia stated clearly that he was not in support of the new enforcement of the transfer rule.
"I don't like the transfer rule," he said. "I'm a middle infielder so it's tough. You got a guy sliding at you, you can't see him. You're trying to get rid of the ball quick. It's 30 degrees, sometimes you lose it. I'm not a big fan of that rule, but I don't make the rules."