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Judge called out at 2nd after odd sequence

Wild caught-stealing play ends fourth following baserunning blunder
MLB.com @JaneMLB

NEW YORK -- The Astros and Yankees were involved in one of the more bizarre replay reviews you'll ever see during the fourth inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Tuesday, a 6-4 Yanks win that knotted the series at 2-2.

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NEW YORK -- The Astros and Yankees were involved in one of the more bizarre replay reviews you'll ever see during the fourth inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Tuesday, a 6-4 Yanks win that knotted the series at 2-2.

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The odd series of events began when Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, hoping to help his club beat Houston to the scoreboard and with New York trailing, 2-1, in this ALCS presented by Camping World, drew a walk against Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. to lead off the fourth.

One out later, the wackiness began.

With Yanks designated hitter Gary Sanchez at the plate, Judge took off for second on an apparent hit-and-run, and Sanchez sent a shallow fly ball into right-center that Houston right fielder Josh Reddick grabbed on the run. Judge, who had made it just past second base, scurried back to first and was ruled out when Reddick's throw appeared to have beaten him back to the bag. However, the throw was slightly off line, so first baseman Yuli Gurriel had to step off the bag to retrieve the throw before he attempted to either tag Judge or make it back in time to step on the base for the force.

Gurriel awkwardly tried to both tag Judge and step on the base, but his foot never reached the bag and his tag was late, which became apparent on review.

"Gary hit it in the air, I didn't know if it was going to drop or not," Judge said. "I was kind of out in no-man's land."

Video: ALCS Gm4: Judge on wild baserunning play in the 4th

New York challenged the inning-ending out, and the call was reversed, putting Judge back on first. However, as the replay was being shown in the stadium, it became clear that Judge did not touch second base on his way back to first, meaning that he would likely be called out if the Astros appealed at second.

"When they went to replay, they were reviewing the out/safe at first base," said Houston manager A.J. Hinch. "And in the middle, obviously, the screen is as big as the state of New York, we could see that he didn't touch second base on the way back. They saw it, as well. Judge knew.

Video: ALCS Gm4: Hinch on wacky baserunning in the 4th

"As soon as the ball was put back in play, Judge was going to be out either way, so why not try for an easy base? If he gets to second base safe, then we can't appeal, because that play is a live play."

Judge, who said that a member of the coaching staff explained the situation to him while the replay review was going on, broke for second base as McCullers set in the stretch as he prepared to appeal the play. The Astros right-hander calmly tossed the ball to second, and Judge was tagged out with what was officially a caught stealing to end the inning.

Video: ALCS Gm4: Yankees discuss bizarre baserunning in 4th

"I was going to be out no matter what, [so] why not try?" Judge said. "If they make a play on me there at second base, then they can't appeal the previous play. That's the only option I had."

Once all the dust had settled, the scored remained 0-0.

Jane Lee has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2010.

New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Carlos Correa, Aaron Judge