Hours after Majerus' funeral, Doc returns to bench

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Hours after Majerus' funeral, Doc returns to bench

BOSTON Keeping his personal and professional life in their own individual boxes is easier said than done for Doc Rivers.

Days like today bring that point painfully home as Rivers arrived to the TD Garden hours before tip-off after attending the funeral of coaching great Rick Majerus in Milwaukee.

Majerus, 64, died of heart failure last week.

In 25 seasons as a head coach, he compiled a record of 517-216 which included 15 20-win seasons and a pair of 30-win seasons.

He is most remembered for leading Utah to the NCAA championship game in 1998 in addition to coaching at Marquette, Ball State and most recently, St. Louis University.

"It was a long day, and a tough day," said Rivers, visibly saddened by the events of the day. "Now we have a game. That's how I look at it."

Majerus was the man who gave Rivers his nickname, 'Doc,' after seeing Rivers at a basketball camp wearing a Dr. J. t-shirt.

When Rivers learned of the day that Majerus' funeral would be held, it didn't matter what the Celtics had going on.

He had to be there.

"Rick had a lot to do with why I'm here," Rivers said. "I've been with Rick since fifth grade. I felt like I had to be there; it was important for me."

Rivers is one who doesn't hide his emotions, coaching or otherwise. Because of that, one would think that he would have at least considered sitting this game out.

Not an option, Rivers said.

"No. If I really want to piss Rick off, don't coach the game," quipped Rivers. "So, I didn't give that much thought. Life is involved in what we do everyday. You deal with life and you deal with your job. So I always try to separate it when I can. Sometimes you can't."

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

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Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

New York’s mistake helped the Red Sox, and they weren’t playing the Yankees.

The Red Sox struck out 20 in a game for the third time in franchise history on Thursday night, and they were able to do so only after MLB’s replay team — based in Manhattan — gave Craig Kimbrel an extra batter to strike out in the ninth inning.

A 6-2 win over the Rangers featured 16 strikeouts for Red Sox pitching heading into the top of the ninth at Fenway Park. Kimbrel came on for a non-save situation because he had five days off previously.

There’s always that outside chance for a four-strikeout inning, and it happened. Even for a four-strikeout inning, however, this was bizarre.

The first batter, lefthanded hitting Nomar Mazara, swung and missed at a back-foot breaking ball for strike 3 — a literal back-foot breaking ball, because it hit him in that foot after he whiffed on the pitch.

On a swing and a miss with a pitch that hits the batter, the ball should be dead. He should not have been able to reach first base. But the umpires didn’t catch the ball hitting Mazara, and instead saw it as a wild pitch. 

Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review and the umpires went for one, but came back empty-handed. The crew was told, erroneously, that the play could not be looked at and the batter was awarded first base.

“It was just a swinging strike three, ball that go away and he obviously reached first base,” crew chief Alfonso Marquez told pool reporter Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “The only thing that I can tell you, and the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue. New York will come out with a statement.”

You could say it worked out just fine. Kimbrel went on to strike out the next three, and got the Sox to 20 Ks.

Kimbrel and Tim Wakefield are the only Red Sox pitchers to fan four batters in a single inning. Wakefield did it in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999. 

Kimbrel did it once before as well, when he was with the Braves on Sept. 26, 2012.

No one has struck out five in a major league inning, although Kimbrel has as good a chance as anyone.

“The guy strikes out the world,” Matt Barnes said. “It’s ridiculous. … His fastball is seemingly unhittable. Complement that with the breaking ball he’s got, which comes right off that same plane, when he’s commanding it like he is, the numbers kind of speak for themselves. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s fun to watch.”

The Sox have struck out 20 in a nine-inning game three times since 1913. Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games are the other two.