NEW YORK -- Alex Colome got the grounder, he just didn't get the needed result in the bottom of the ninth, when a potential game-ending groundout turned into an RBI single that forced extra innings.
And the Rays took a stinging 6-5 loss to the Yankees in 11 innings in the first game of a four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night.
Colome entered the game to start the ninth with the Rays leading, 5-4. After Brett Gardner greeted the Rays' closer with a triple to left, the Yankees seemingly had at least a tie in the bag.
Then Colome retired Clint Frazier on a groundout to third baseman Evan Longoria.
"When Longoria got the first out, I said, 'We have the game,'" Colome said.
Aaron Judge followed with a shallow fly ball to right on which Gardner could not advance, leaving the game in the hands of Gary Sanchez.
With the Rays shifted to the left side of the infield, they got the desired ground ball. Everybody in the ballpark thought the game was over, including manager Kevin Cash.
"Yeah, I did [think the game was over]," Cash said. "The ground ball in that vicinity and where those guys were starting from, yes, I thought it was over."
Instead shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and second baseman Timothy Beckham both stopped, looking as though they thought the other would handle the chance. And suddenly a victory turned into extra innings, and eventually defeat. Why?
"That's a good question," Cash said. "I don't really know. We play that positioning all the time. We probably play it 40 pitches a game against a lot of right-handed hitters. And for whatever reason, it was just that perfect tweener ball that appeared that both guys kind of stopped, or laid up on it."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi noted that "Beckham hasn't played with Hechavarria a lot."
"That's the other thing, when you make trades and you get new people, it takes time to get comfortable in those situations," Girardi said. "They're both outstanding defenders. They've played really good defense. We caught a break."
Hechavarria didn't have a good explanation, but he did say, "I think I could have dove and made the play myself, initially."
Beckham attributed it to unfamiliarity between himself and Hechavarria.
"I guess you could say just not familiar playing with each other," Beckham said. "We were set on what to do if a ball was hit in between, it just didn't take place. ... The play has to be made. We both know what happened and what was supposed to happen."
Colome sounded more philosophical.
"I made a good pitch, threw it where I [wanted to], got the ground ball," Colome said. "I thought I had the third out. That happens sometimes in the game. We win together, we lose together."