Greg Bird swears he didn’t hear the Yankee Stadium boobirds, but they were deafening.
Bird’s hapless three-pitch at-bat with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 10th inning of a tie game Monday night couldn’t have gone much worse.
Braves lefthander Jesse Biddle started off Bird, a lefthanded hitter, with a low fastball for a strike looking. Bird then fouled off a slider in the middle of the plate. Biddle went up in the zone with a 95-mph two-seamer, which Bird waved at, for the third strike.
As Bird lowered his head and returned to the dugout, those remaining from the 43,792 in attendance let him know he didn’t do his job. He didn’t need to be told. Bird knew he failed.
“I missed the slider and I missed the fastball,” he said, clearly frustrated with himself. “Plain and simple. You’ve just got to do better than that. And I will. I will.”
Austin Romine then struck out on four pitches, the game went to the 11th and Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a two-run homer to give the Braves a 5-3 victory.
Although his inability to put the ball in play in the 10th didn’t help the cause, Bird hardly was the only one at fault for the loss. The Yankees were 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 12 on base, including six in the final four innings.
Manager Aaron Boone had righthanded hitter Brandon Drury available in the 10th, but Boone opted not to pinch hit for Bird — who went 1-for-4 and is hitting .198 — for a variety of reasons.
“Yeah, it was a close call,” Boone said. “But with the bases- loaded situation there and it being tied, the walk comes into play. So the on-base factor, which is why I stuck with Bird there, his ability to get on. If it was a different situation where you need the hit or something, then maybe it’s a different play. Coupled with the fact that Drury’s the last guy we had on the bench, and we’re tied, and we’re dealing with [Romine], who’s a little beat up, obviously.”
Kyle Higashioka already was out of the game, so Bird would have had to catch if Romine, battling a hamstring issue, had to leave the game.
“Big vote of confidence,” Bird said. “I’ve got to do a better job of just coming through. That’s it. It’s simple. Put the ball in play, just do a better job. I can do that.”
Boone said he was “hoping for a little bit more” out of Bird’s at-bat. With Didi Gregorius on third base, almost any ball in the air to the outfield would’ve done the trick.
“I just walk back to the dugout,” Bird said. “I didn’t get it done. So I just walk back and come back here tomorrow and do better.
“I’ll show up. I’ll be here.”