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Sanchez HR closes gap, but baserunning costly

Yankees' catcher cut down trying to go 1st to 3rd
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- With the Yankees trailing in the seventh inning, catcher Gary Sanchez made a baserunning blunder that left the Yankees one run short in their 7-6 loss to the Rangers on Sunday afternoon.

Sanchez tried to go first to third on a Didi Gregorius RBI single, which trimmed the deficit to one, and he was cut down by right fielder Shin-Soo Choo for the third out of the inning.

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NEW YORK -- With the Yankees trailing in the seventh inning, catcher Gary Sanchez made a baserunning blunder that left the Yankees one run short in their 7-6 loss to the Rangers on Sunday afternoon.

Sanchez tried to go first to third on a Didi Gregorius RBI single, which trimmed the deficit to one, and he was cut down by right fielder Shin-Soo Choo for the third out of the inning.

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"Didi hit it in the hole, and I don't think I had a chance to go to home plate," Choo said. "I saw Sanchez, and Sanchez really isn't a fast runner. I just threw it to third."

Choo said the situation elevated the play's significance. The Yankees would've had runners on first and third for third baseman Chase Headley, who was 2-for-3 at the time, and a chance to tack on the game-tying run.

Although it's hard to say what Headley would've done had he hit in the seventh -- barring a pitching change, he would've been batting right-handed against the lefty Alex Claudio -- he did lead off the eighth inning with a ground-rule double.

"That's a mistake on my part," Sanchez said. "You should never make the last out at third base. I saw [third-base coach Joe Espada], he was holding me up and I kept on going. I thought I had a chance. I didn't."

Yanks manager Joe Girardi said Sanchez's aggressive baserunning was an example of a young player trying to do too much in a close game.

"Sometimes you're going to make bad reads, and he thought he had a chance to make it," Girardi said. "It can't be a chance, you've got to be sure."

Sanchez came up with a shot at redemption in the ninth with Aaron Judge on first and two outs, but Rangers closer Matt Bush struck him out on a check-swing attempt at a curveball in the dirt to end the game.

Video: TEX@NYY: Sanchez hammers a three-run homer to center

Still, the Yankees hardly would've made it a tight contest if not for Sanchez's big three-run home run in the fifth inning. The Yanks were trailing, 7-1, at the time, and the blast allowed them to fight their way back into the game.

Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez