Watch: Early innings of ALCS Game 5 are the gifts that keeps on GIFing
Mike Napoli started the scoring in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series by hitting a 3-1 fastball down the middle from Anibal Sanchez 460 feet to straightaway center field in the second inning. The ball cleared the wall just to the left of the 420-foot sign, cleared the hedge behind that wall, the wall behind that and the hedge behind that. The home run was the longest of the 48 hit thus far in this postseason, besting Adrian Gonzalez’s shot off Joe Kelly in Game 5 of the NLDS on Wednesday by ten feet, according to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker. It also tied the third-longest home run hit at Comerica Park this season, trailing a 464-footer by the Astros J.D. Martinez and a 462-footer by Adam Dunn.
By the middle of the fourth inning, Boston was up 4-0 with Napoli scoring the fourth run as well following a ground-rule double to left field. Tigers could at least boast this absurd play by shortstop Jose Iglesias, ranging out of the shift to catch a pop-up by David Ortiz.
Finally, and less happily for anyone involved, catchers David Ross and Alex Avila, both of whom were on the disabled list due to concussions as recently as mid-August, had this collision at home plate in the second inning:
Ross, who was clearly out, patted Avila on the rear after the play, a show of respect from one catcher to another. Avila was shaken up but remained in the game, prompting praise from Fox’s broadcast team as well as from staff ace Max Scherzer during an in-game interview. All of which only shows how much the attitude toward, and legality of, such plays needs to change. Avila later took a foul ball off the mask courtesy of Ross in the fourth inning and finally came out of the game after finishing that frame in the field.