CLEVELAND — Say it ain’t Toe!
Pint-sized utilityman Ronald Torreyes committed a giant gaffe when he was picked off second base in the 11th inning of the Yankees’ 9-8, 13-inning loss to the Indians in Game 2 of the American League Division Series on Friday night.
Torreyes had just entered the game as a pinch runner for Todd Frazier, who reached second when third baseman Erik Gonzalez fired his leadoff grounder into the photographer’s area behind first base for an error.
On the first pitch to Brett Gardner, Torreyes was picked off by Indians catcher Yan Gomes, who threw from his knees to shortstop Francisco Lindor. Gardner had squared to bunt but pulled his bat back on the high offering.
Torreyes initially was called safe by second-base umpire Brian O’Nora. Indians manager Terry Francona challenged the call and Torreyes was correctly called out after a replay review of only 45 seconds.
“[Gonzalez] kind of launched one, and Gomer picked him up,” Francona said. “That’s what good teams do. That was a great play. Looked like we had them by about an inch, but that was enough.”
Gomes, who Francona wasn’t sure was going to start behind the plate after Roberto Perez played in Game 1, had the game-winning RBI single off Dellin Betances in the 13th as the Indians came back from an 8-3 deficit to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. His throw helped make that possible.
“That’s a play that Lindor and I always look to do,” Gomes said. “Any time somebody fake-bunts or something, we’re always trying to pick behind. Lindor seemed like he was going to be pretty close, and then when you see them get the challenge call going, you’re getting excited about it. It was a big play in that inning. Glad we got it done.”
Gomes’ joy was Torreyes’ pain. The 5-7 infielder and fan favorite is known for his fundamentally sound play, but he was picked off about a minute into his first postseason appearance.
“The play right there, the strategy was for our player to bunt there and for me to get to third,” Torreyes said through an interpreter. “I was trying to be aggressive there, to make sure that I had a good lead. I tried to go back. I did everything I could to get back as fast as I could. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it and I was out.”
Torreyes said he wasn’t sure if the call would be overturned. It wasn’t a tough call for the reviewers, as Lindor clearly tagged Torreyes on the backside before Torreyes’ hand got to the bag.
“I definitely felt that I was safe and the umpire called the play safe,” Torreyes said. “They went to replay and it showed that I was out by a little bit. It’s part of the game.”
The throwing error was a major gift for the Yankees, who scored eight runs in the first five innings but were held to no runs and three hits in innings six through 13 by the Cleveland bullpen.
Torreyes was the Yankees’ final batter. He struck out against eventual winning pitcher Josh Tomlin to end the 13th.