There are wins in MLB, there are walk-off wins, and then there are balk-off wins.
A game between the Cincinnati Reds and Tampa Bay Rays ended in bizarre fashion on Friday when, with runners on the corners and one out in the bottom of the 10th, home plate umpire Edwin Moscoso called a balk on Rays pitcher Matt Wisler.
Wisler appeared to have moved his glove to encourage catcher Francisco Mejía to go through his signs again, but Moscoso apparently thought it was too much movement. Pitchers can not halt their motion to a set position once it has begun, as Reds analyst Chris Welsh explained.
With the game tied at 1-1, the balk scored the runner on third and ended the game.
Thanks to that decision, Wisler was responsible for the 23rd recorded walk-off balk in MLB history, which means we’re talking about something more rare than a perfect game and 10 times more rare than a cycle or no-hitter.
The last balk-off came in 2018, to the benefit of the Seattle Mariners and at the expense of Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Dylan Floro.
The unusual win boosts the Reds’ record to 34-50, while the Rays sit at 45-38, tied for second in the AL East.