The Yankees picked one of the worst possible times to have one of their worst defensive games of the season.
They committed four errors — two each by DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres in a four-inning span — leading to three unearned runs in the Astros’ 8-3 victory in ALCS Game 4 on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
Those miscues helped cement a feeling of ugliness about the game, which took 4:19 and featured 13 pitchers. That’s normal these days. But what’s not normal is the Yankees looking this bad in the field, especially in a game that put them down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.
The Astros can close out the ALCS and advance to the World Series with a victory on Friday night.
“The timing wasn’t good, right?” LeMahieu said. “We really wanted to play well today. I think we’re going to be just fine and tomorrow we’re going to come out with a lot of energy.”
The Yankees were trailing 3-1 in the sixth inning when their defensive woes began. Alex Bregman led off with a squibbed grounder that ate up LeMahieu at first base for an error.
Bregman later scored on Carlos Correa’s three-run homer off Chad Green that made it 6-1.
After the Yankees pulled to within 6-3 on Gary Sanchez’s two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth, Tommy Kahnle had a clean seventh. It still was a three-run deficit when Adam Ottavino came in to start the eighth. The Yankees desperately needed to keep the Astros right there, but Ottavino’s miserable postseason continued when he allowed a leadoff double by Bregman. Yuli Gurriel followed with a hard grounder that bounced off LeMahieu’s glove for error No. 2, sending Bregman to third.
The Yankees brought the infield in and CC Sabathia replaced Ottavino. Yordan Alvarez hit a grounder to Torres, who booted it for error No. 3 as Bregman scored to make it 7-3.
“Just a disappointing game all around,” LeMahieu said. “Just a couple weird hops. The first one, I feel like it was just some weird spin. The second one, I feel like I was in position to make the play. Just didn’t make it.”
In the ninth, Torres — who was shifted to the shortstop side of second base — let a leadoff grounder by Jose Altuve scoot under his glove for a two-base error, his second and the Yankees’ fourth. The bad looks continued as Jonathan Loaisiga threw a pair of wild pitches around Michael Brantley’s RBI single that made it 8-3.
“We didn’t make a couple of plays and that’s frustrating, obviously, and I think our guys are frustrated over that,” manager Aaron Boone said. “But again, it’s imperative that we not dwell on it. And we need to get past this and I know our guys will.”
The glove trouble was surprising because the Yankees had one of their best defensive games of the year in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Twins, with sparkling play after sparkling play, and had committed only two errors in six postseason games before Thursday.
LeMahieu had two errors in 40 games at first base in the regular season. Torres had nine in 65 games at second base.