By day's end, the strange, not-often-seen play had been overshadowed. But it played a significant role in the Yankees' 6-2 win over the Angels nonetheless.
Leading 2-0 in the third Sunday, the Angels looked to add on. After Erick Aybar led off with a single, Mike Trout hit a ground shot to third baseman Chase Headley, who threw it about five feet above second baseman Jose Pirela's head for his team-high 13th error. That put runners on first and third with none out.
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One out later, David Freese skied one to the edge of the warning track in rightfield, plenty deep enough to drive in Aybar. Trout, however, also tried to tag up, and Carlos Beltran's throw to second nipped him as Didi Gregorius made a diving tag. Aybar, who perhaps did not anticipate that Trout would take off, didn't run full-out from third, and plate umpire Dan Bellino correctly ruled that Trout was tagged a split-second before Aybar touched the plate, nullifying the run and keeping it at 2-0.
"I'm not thinking about the runner on third, I'm just trying to get the guy at second," Beltran said. "It was great. It's not the same trying to come back from a two-run deficit than three. Who knows what would have happened? It was good for us. Very good."
The Yankees will pick 16th, their highest since 1993, in the MLB Draft, which begins Monday night. The Yankees also have the 30th selection, compensation for losing David Robertson in free agency.
General manager Brian Cashman planned to head to Tampa on Sunday night to oversee the draft from the club's "war room" there. With the Yankees off Monday, Joe Girardi said he'll be "tuned in" to see whom the organization takes.
"It always takes you back to the day you were drafted, which was a special day," Girardi said. "And you're curious to see who you're going to pick up. You look at our draft pick last year is here already."
That would be lefthander Jacob Lindgren, a second-round pick out of Mississippi State.
Pirela plugging away
With Brendan Ryan (right calf) "getting pretty close" to returning, according to Girardi, Jose Pirela, 25, could be the odd man out. But Pirela is making the most of his time in the majors, going 2-for-3 Sunday to lift his average to .268 and hitting his first career homer, a solo shot into the Angels' bullpen in the seventh that made it 6-2.
"I've been working very hard waiting for this opportunity," Pirela said. "Now that I have that opportunity, I'm very excited to contribute."