TORONTO — Aaron Boone’s odd decision not to use Isiah Kiner-Falefa to pinch run for Giancarlo Stanton in the ninth inning of Sunday’s 10-9 loss to the Blue Jays ended up having a simple explanation.
The shortstop is dealing with tightness in his left hamstring, a sensation he felt while scoring a run in the fourth inning of Saturday’s 4-0 victory.
“Just tightened up on me,” Kiner-Falefa said. “So better to take care of it now. Figured going into Tampa, playing on the turf, it was best to rest today . . . so I had a full rest day today and it was good. Needed it.”
Kiner-Falefa, hitting .273 with a .320 on-base percentage in 61 games, said he hopes to be in the lineup Monday for the start of a three-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
“We decided it was best to take it slow,” Kiner-Falefa said. “That way it’s just a couple days, one day, I don’t know. I should hopefully be ready to go tomorrow.”
With the Yankees trailing 10-9 Sunday, Stanton walked with one out against Toronto closer Jordan Romano. Kiner-Falefa, a base-stealing threat and much faster than the 6-6, 245-pound Stanton, no doubt would have pinch run if he had been healthy. Stanton did advance to third on Aaron Hicks’ two-out single to right, but in Kiner-Falefa’s mind, had he been healthy, perhaps he could have stolen a base before that hit and scored the tying run.
“I felt like I kind of let the team down in a way today,” he said, “because we couldn’t make the possible switches. We were still able to keep it close [and] I should be ready to go.”
Have a day
Gleyber Torres, who became a first-time father earlier this year, went 3-for-5 and finished a triple shy of the cycle on Father's Day.
“Really good,” Boone said. “More just great at-bats. Even his last one [a long flyout to center in the ninth against Romano], just misses a pitch there. He’s on time, he’s in a strong position. Put a really good swing on the ball there. But he looks great.”
Torres, hitting .267 with 13 homers and an .838 OPS, is in a 21-for-57 (.368) stretch with five homers, 10 RBIs and 14 runs in his last 16 games.
When Kyle Higashioka and Marwin Gonzalez hit consecutive home runs in the fifth, that gave the Yankees an MLB-leading eighth set of back-to-back homers this season . . . Though he was charged with a season-high five runs, Luis Severino struck out nine, making it four straight starts in which he struck out at least eight batters . . . Higashioka has four homers in his last four games after not homering in his first 34 games of the season.