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Baserunning blunder annoys Joe Girardi

Gary Sanchez #24 of the New York Yankees

Gary Sanchez #24 of the New York Yankees strikes out in the fourth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, July 8, 2017 in the Bronx Borough of New York City. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Joe Girardi obviously was thrilled with the victory he felt his struggling club needed to have Saturday afternoon. But the manager still was vexed about a double baserunning blunder by Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley that short-circuited a rally in the second inning.

Gregorius led off the inning with a pop-up that shortstop Orlando Arcia dropped for the Brewers’ sixth error in two games (they committed a seventh later in the day). That allowed Gregorius to get to second.

Headley followed with a soft comebacker that Brewers starter Brent Suter gloved. Gregorius took off for third and was tagged out after a very brief rundown as he was unable to extend the play. Trying to salvage the situation when he saw Gregorius caught off second, Headley turned wide and made a break for second as the rundown began, but he had to turn back to first and was tagged out on a rifle throw by Arcia and snap tag by first baseman Eric Thames.

“Two poor reads and you have to make sure [Headley’s grounder] is through,” Girardi said. “You can’t make those mistakes. You have to go over things in your head before they happen. You can’t run into outs. And then we compounded the problem by running into two outs. You can’t make those mistakes.”

Headley said his intent was to get to second once he saw Gregorius get caught in the rundown.

“I come around the base aggressive and that’s the only way I can make it to second base, and they just got a quicker tag than I expected,” Headley said of the rundown. “Obviously, not optimal timing when it happened, but I was trying to do the right thing and it didn’t work out in that situation.”

Phantom hit batsman

After the game, Girardi remained miffed about the hit batsman that set the stage for Domingo Santana’s three-run homer off Luis Severino with two outs in the first inning.

With two outs and a man on second, Severino threw an inside pitch to Travis Shaw that plate umpire Mike Estabrook called a ball, but when Shaw turned to Estabrook and said the pitch hit him, Estabrook sent him to first. Replays appeared to indicate that the pitch did not brush his jersey as he jumped out of the way.

Two pitches later, Santana hit a three-run homer to right.

Montgomery optioned

Needing fresh arms, the Yankees recalled relievers Jonathan Holder and Ben Heller and optioned pitchers Luis Cessa and Jordan Montgomery.

“He will slot in, obviously, when we come back [from the All-Star break],” Girardi said of Montgomery, who started Friday night and is 6-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 16 starts this season.

By rule, Montgomery must stay in the minors 10 days, but because the Yankees have a doubleheader in Boston next Sunday, the rookie could be exempt from that and could pitch in one of those games.

No Chance

If top pitching prospect Chance Adams gets a shot at some point in the second half, it likely won’t be in the bullpen.

“Chance Adams, we feel, is not ready for that,” Girardi said. “There might come a point where if he gets to an innings limit and we think he can help us in the bullpen, I guess that’s a possibility. But as of now, no.”

Holliday on assignment

Matt Holliday (viral infection) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday night as the DH. He’ll be the DH again Sunday, and the plan is for him to rejoin the Yankees on Friday when they start the second half in Boston.

Extra bases

Girardi said he had not determined the rotation order when the Yankees begin the second half with a four-game series at Fenway Park . . . Luis Severino struck out 10 Saturday, giving him 124 strikeouts in 106 2⁄3 innings this season, which ranks him third in the AL behind Chris Sale (178 in 127 2⁄3 innings) and Chris Archer (139 in 116 1⁄3 innings).

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