Almost every inside-the-park home run needs some sort of weirdness or a misstep for it to come to fruition.
But the one Rays outfielder Luke Raley hit in a 6-1 win against the Giants at Oracle Park on Wednesday might be the oddest of them all.
Raley, who started the game on the bench, came in as a pinch-hitter during the sixth inning to face pitcher Ross Stripling.
On the first pitch he saw from the right-hander, Raley crushed an 85-mph slider to the park’s infamous “Triples Alley” in right-center field.
At 425 feet and 110.6 mph, Raley’s ball would’ve been a traditional home run in the 29 other big league ballparks — but not in San Francisco.
Instead, the ball ricocheted off Oracle Park’s 24-foot high brick wall in right field and then took a bizarre bounce toward center field.
Rather than going straight back into the playing field, the ball caromed off the very top of the green center field wall before bouncing back onto the warning track as it rocketed past Giants center fielder Wade Meckler.
By the time Meckler could even retrieve the ball, which, by then, was closer to left-center field than right, Raley was rounding third.
Raley raced around the bases in a mere 15.3 seconds, per Statcast, and scored standing up just as the ball hit the cut-off man.
It was Raley’s 17th home run of the year, and without a doubt, his most memorable.
“Kind of crazy, I’m sure that doesn’t happen very often,” Raley said after the game, according to Bally Sports Florida. “I didn’t draw it up that way. I would rather just hit it over the wall and be able to jog, but they all count the same.”
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