NEW YORK -- Edwin Encarnacion is better known for prodigious home runs than for legging out infield singles, but with the Yankees desperately seeking baserunners late in Tuesday’s Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, the home crowd roared after believing it had witnessed a rarity.
Encarnación was initially ruled safe on a weak grounder to the left side of the infield, with third baseman Alex Bregman's throw drawing first baseman Yuli Gurriel off the bag. The Astros challenged, believing that Gurriel applied a tag behind the runner’s left shoulder and the call was overturned by review in Houston’s eventual 4-1 victory.
“We checked right away, and our guys said [Encarnación was] out,’” Boone said.
The sellout crowd of 48,998 at Yankee Stadium cheered when the center-field video screen showed the replay, but an 86-second review determined that Gurriel’s tag had contacted Encarnación just before his right shoe slammed on the first-base bag.
"It was really close, but I knew that I had made the tag before,” Gurriel said.
Several fans reacted to the overturned call by throwing objects onto the outfield warning track, prompting a warning in the form of a public address announcement.
“I think I saw seven or eight water bottles out in the outfield, two baseballs that were thrown from center and left. It's scary,” Astros outfielder Josh Reddick said. “I don't think a lot of people realize how dangerous that can really be. You throw a baseball hard enough and it hits somebody in the head when they're not looking, it could do some damage to you as a player. It's definitely disrespectful, and at the same time, very unsafe."
Some credit is also due to Encarnación for making the play that close at all. The slow-footed slugger was clocked from home to first base in 4.61 seconds, his fastest time of the season, and recorded a sprint speed of 27.0 feet per second on the play, well above his season average of 24.8.
His previous fastest time to first base this season had been 4.66 seconds, when he grounded into a triple play against the Twins on July 22.
“I should have just hit [Gurriel] in the chest,” Bregman said. “We wouldn't have had a replay review."