ST. PETERSBURG -- There were several reasons the Yankees' comeback attempt in Monday night's 7-6 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field fell short. But afterward, the focus was on a lack of hustle on two occasions by catcher Gary Sanchez, who took the blame and said he must do better, though he was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday with a reaggravated groin injury.
With the Yankees trailing by a run with two outs in the ninth inning and the bases loaded, Sanchez hit a grounder to second baseman Daniel Robertson, shifted to the left side of the infield. Robertson's flip to shortstop Willy Adames was too late to force Aaron Hicks out at second, but Adames still had time to retire the slow-footed Sanchez at first, ending the game.
Sanchez, who needed 5.39 seconds to reach first base, has raced from home to first as quickly as 4.33 seconds this season. Sanchez's "max-effort" average on runs from home to first this year -- the top 10 percent of his home-to-first dashes -- is 4.53 seconds.
"I think I could have done a better job there, for sure,'' Sanchez said through an interpreter. "I hit the ball well. When the play developed and I saw the runner safe at second base, I tried to beat the play, but I couldn't.
"I hit the ball well there. I should have run harder. There was a chance [Hicks] was going to be out at second base, but that didn't happen. He was safe.''
Sanchez was also at the center of the Rays' first run, scored during the contentious first inning of Luis Severino's poor outing.
The right-hander surrendered a two-out double to rookie Jake Bauers, who scored all the way from second base on a passed ball that was charged to Sanchez. Severino's pitch glanced off Sanchez's leg and rolled into foul territory down the third-base line. When Sanchez appeared to jog after the ball, Bauers kept on running, sliding headfirst into home and beating the hurried throw by Sanchez to Severino, who was covering.
"That's another instance where, if I did a better job being quicker getting the ball, maybe we have a chance to get him out at home, and that's my fault,'' Sanchez said.
After the inning, Severino confronted Sanchez, and they appeared to have a heated conversation in the dugout. In the clubhouse, Severino and Sanchez each said there was a cross-up in the signs. Severino threw a slider. Sanchez was expecting a fastball. But that had nothing to do with Sanchez's slow-motion attempt to reach the errant ball.
"I asked [Sanchez], and he told me that he didn't see the ball,'' Severino said. "For me, it seemed like he didn't see it.''
"We happened to cross up on the signs there, but like I said, I should have gotten that ball quicker there,'' Sanchez said.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he didn't get a good enough look at the play to make a judgment on Sanchez's effort.
"When the ball skipped away and I was watching Bauers run from second, knowing that he might be a little aggressive coming around, I was kind of yelling for [Severino] to cover home,'' Boone said. "I was watching the runner. So that's another play I have to watch back."