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Red Sox-Rays Endure Long Mid-Game Delay As Umpiring Crew Tries To Figure Out Rules

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Red Sox and Rays played a very early game on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch was scheduled for just after noon, as both teams looked to hit the road early to get on their flights to their next series.

The game was more or less cruising along, too, right up until the top of the eighth inning. That is when pure madness broke out.

Now, it's difficult to discern exactly what caused Alex Cora to make a stink in the Boston dugout, but here are the events that led to what turned out to be a very long delay in St. Petersburg.

--Adam Kolarek entered the game to pitch for Tampa Bay. Kolarek got Sam Travis to pop out for the first out of the inning.

--Tampa manager Kevin Cash called upon Chaz Roe to replace Kolarek. Yet rather than remove Kolarek from the game, Cash put the pitcher at first base. Roe got Mookie Betts to fly out.

--Cash then walked back out to the mound. He sent Kolarek back out to pitch, while removing Roe from the game and replacing him with Nate Lowe at first base.

That's when Cora made a remark to home plate umpire Angel Hernandez, who's also the crew chief. Hernandez then met with his fellow umpires, and then met with Cash, and then met with Cora again, and also met with the rest of the crew again, and with Cora, and with Cash, and ultimately with some MLB officials via headset. After communicating on the headphones with the league office, Hernandez then went to explain the situation to Cora, who didn't seem to agree with the explanation.

After the long delay, Kolarek finally got to pitch. He threw exactly one pitch to Rafael Devers, who grounded out to end the inning.

The game moved on.

But not for long.

When the game broadcast resumed, Cora was seen walking away from the huddle of four umpires near the third-base line. It turns out that Cora was officially declaring that the Red Sox were playing the game under protest.

Kevin Cash, Angel Hernandez
Kevin Cash talks with umpire Angel Hernandez concerning a defensive switch in the eighth inning against the Red Sox. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Whatever it was that the lineup shuffle on Tampa's side did, Cora clearly didn't believe it was handled properly, as evidenced by his clear frustration upon returning to the Red Sox dugout.

The total time of the two delays combined for about 20 minutes.

The official Red Sox Twitter account had a joke to make:

The Rays would go on to hold their 3-2 lead to earn the victory.

The issue certainly has to do with the issue of the Rays forfeiting their DH by sending a pitcher into the game. That DH spot was in the third spot of Tampa's lineup, and was due up in the bottom of the inning. Given that a series of switches were made, it's possible that the exact spot in the lineup for each replacement was at the heart of the issue.

The official word from MLB on the reason for that delay? It was "due to the placement of the substitutes in the lineup following the removal of the DH."

Whatever it was, it was confusing to everybody in attendance -- including the four men tasked with enforcing the rules.

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