You know about Gary Sanchez’s big bat, and also his penchant for passed balls. But how many times have his legs impacted a game?
No speed demon he, Sanchez beat out a two-out grounder in the third-base hole for a bases-loaded RBI single in the sixth inning of the Yankees’ 9-2 win over the Red Sox on Sunday night — but only after a very important replay review.
First-base umpire D.J. Reyburn initially called Sanchez out. After a review of 1:47, the call was reversed. Sanchez was credited with a single that gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead, and instead of scoring no runs in the inning, they wound up with six.
“When I stepped on the base, I felt like I beat the play,” Sanchez said through a translator. “Then I saw the replay and I knew it was close.”
Starlin Castro followed with a three-run double and Aaron Judge hit a two-run home run for a 9-1 lead. But none of that would have happened if Sanchez hadn’t busted it to beat the throw from Rafael Devers, who made a diving stop on the ball.
“It’s totally different [if the call is not reversed],” Joe Girardi said. “You use your bullpen differently. It’s completely different. And that’s the importance of replay, because it can lead to a lot of good things for a team. Sometimes if you’re on the losing end, it leads to a lot of bad things. That was big tonight.”
After two errors by Todd Frazier in the sixth, Sanchez was charged with his AL-worst 14th passed ball. That cut the Yankees’ lead to 3-1.
“He’s played really well,” said Girardi, who briefly benched Sanchez for poor defense last month. “I know we’re going to nitpick on him a little bit, but he’s played really, really well and has been a big part of our offense. He’s done a really good job with our staff. That’s a huge hit. That’s what blew that game open, him beating that out and replay.”
That’s not to say Girardi is ignoring Sanchez’s passed-ball problem.
“You still want to correct that issue,” he said. “That’s obviously an issue that I think he can correct. He’s working hard at everything and he’ll continue to do it. Let’s not forget, I’ve said all along, the toughest position to be a young player, I believe, is a catcher. It is tough because there’s so much that you have to do.”