Chase Headley fell down on his big eighth-inning hit but scrambled to escape the rundown
Chase Headley wasn't tabbed for the Yankees' starting lineup in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World, but Joe Girardi called his name to pinch-hit in a key moment. Todd Frazier had singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning with the Yankees trailing the Astros, 4-2, and Girardi wanted Headley to step in for Austin Romine.
The 11-year veteran came through, lacing Joe Musgrove's pitch to deep left-center field for what seemed like a fairly easy extra-base hit. There was only one problem -- Headley lost his footing while rounding first base:
What was going on in Headley's mind at the time? "Talk about going from extremely excited to extremely panicked in a matter of seconds," he said to MLB.com after the game.
Fortunately for Headley, the play wasn't over, even though relay man Carlos Correa quickly got the ball back to Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel. Thanks to some quick thinking, Headley abandoned thoughts of returning to first and hoped for the best in a scramble to second.
Gurriel's throw to Jose Altuve was late ...
... but just barely.
Of the decision, Headley said, "My thought was, I'm on the ground. I knew that Correa wasn't looking at me, so I knew he was going to be getting yelled at to throw the ball to first base. As soon as he made the throw, I'm going the other way and hopefully I can sneak in there. You've got to make the best out of a bad situation. Fortunately it worked out."
The Astros called for a review of the play. After all, it was a huge momentum swing. According to Tom Tango's win expectancy matrix, the Yankees had a 23 percent chance of winning when Headley came to the plate. If he was safe at second, it would be 46 percent. If he was out, it would fall to 22 percent.
Headley's fingers touched the base before Altuve's tag, though, and the replay crew ruled that Headley was safe. Jacoby Ellsbury pinch-ran for Headley after a Brett Gardner groundout, and he tied the game on Aaron Judge's double. The Yankees went on to win, 6-4, to tie the ALCS at two games apiece.
Lead the frenzied Yankee Stadium cheer, Chase.
Tune in to Game 5 of the ALCS on Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET on FS1.