Isiah Kiner-Falefa has been a pleasant surprise in the Yankees’ blistering hot start to the season.
However, the shortstop made a crucial mistake on the base-paths, which cost the Yankees a chance to take the lead against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning of Saturday night’s 3-2 loss.
With the Yankees trailing 2-1 against White Sox closer Liam Hendriks, Joey Gallo drew a leadoff walk and Kiner-Falefa subsequently knocked a single to move Gallo to third. Kiner-Falefa then stole second, before Kyle Higashioka drove Gallo, the tying run, in with a sacrifice fly.
But during this play, Kiner-Falefa made a major blunder by getting thrown out while attempting to advance to third base. Instead of having the lead run in scoring position with the top of the order coming up, Kiner-Falefa made the second out of the inning.
As a result, the Yankees were unable to take the lead, and later fell in the bottom half of the frame after the White Sox walked it off against New York’s closer Aroldis Chapman.
After the loss, a remorseful Kiner-Falefa owned up to his blunder on the base-paths.
"It was just bonehead play and a bad read,” Kiner-Falefa said. “I'll learn from it and it won't happen again."
The 27-year-old has swung a solid bat to begin the year, slashing .278/.324/.340. But he has been slumping as of late, going 4 for his last 19 (.211) in his past seven games.
He has also had a rough go of things in the field recently. Heading into Saturday night’s action, Kiner-Falefa committed three errors, as well as an additional misplay that was ruled a hit, in back-to-back starts at shortstop.
In the Yankees’ latest loss, Kiner-Falefa’s base-running mistake killed a rally. But on the bright side, he is holding himself accountable and ready to move on.
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