HOUSTON (AP) — This time, the 12-year-old fan reaching for a home run in the AL Championship Series had no interest in helping the New York Yankees.
Carson Riley, a young Houston fan wearing an old-fashioned Astros jersey, tried to make a catch in the front row of seats when Carlos Correa lined a shot over the right-field wall Saturday in the fourth inning of Game 2. There was no fan interference on the play, and Correa circled the bases with a solo home run.
“I love that kid,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said after a second consecutive 2-1 victory gave his team a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. “I want to leave that kid tickets.”
Riley’s moment in the spotlight came more than two decades after 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier famously reached over the wall during the 1996 ALCS at Yankee Stadium, benefiting New York when Derek Jeter hit a tying homer in the eighth inning against Baltimore. Long before Major League Baseball adopted instant replay, the Yankees went on to win that game in 11 innings and later won the World Series.
After Correa rounded the bases, Yankees manager Joe Girardi went out to talk to the umpires. The homer stood for a 1-0 Astros lead after a crew chief review.
The replay showed that the ball appeared to have crossed over the yellow line, and that the boy was reaching with his glove on top of the wall. The ball also seemed to be beyond the reach of 6-foot-7 Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge, who was going back toward the wall when the ball ricocheted off Riley’s glove and into the seats.
“Well, we saw the hands there. I wish sometimes they had a camera that went straight along the fence,” Girardi said. “It’s really close. I can see why they didn’t overturn it ... with the angles they have.”
After the ball went into the seats, Judge punched his glove. He seemed frustrated about not being in position for another home run-robbing catch — like the one he had in Game 3 of the AL Division Series that the Yankees won 1-0 against Cleveland — and not because the boy reached for the ball.
“I got back there a little late,” Judge said. “I just wasn’t able to get back and get a good read to the wall and get up there and make a play.”
The Riley family also was at Game 1 on Friday night, but not in those same seats near Judge, the slugging rookie who is a front-runner for the AL MVP along with Astros second baseman Jose Altuve.
Altuve, Carson’s favorite player, scored the winning run in the ninth inning Saturday on Correa’s double into the right-center gap.
“I thought we were going to heckle (Judge). But he’s been real nice with all the kids, throwing the balls back and forth,” said Riley’s father, Michael. “He threw him a ball right before that, too, between innings. He’s cool.”
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