The Yankees trailed 6-0 at one point on Tuesday night. After surging back in the seventh and eighth innings, however, New York brought the tying run to the plate.
That's when a costly mistake on the base paths took the bat out of Aaron Hicks' hands before he even had a shot to complete the comeback.
The second pitch of the at-bat—with two outs in the eighth and Hicks stepping in against Blue Jays closer Julian Merryweather—was a curveball spiked in the dirt. Catcher Danny Jansen kept it in front of him, but the ball leaked away just enough for Giancarlo Stanton to scamper from second base to third.
Yankees catcher Gary Sánchez was on first and instead of following Stanton, he got caught in no mans land, hesitating and getting tagged out in a rundown to end the frame.
"You've just got to be in better position in your legs to be able to move up," manager Aaron Boone said after the 7-3 loss. "I mean, it's a ball he obviously could have moved up on, but it's important not to run off the guy in front of you. You've just got to be heads up and in a better position to take advantage of that."
Entering play on Tuesday, Hicks had been struggling. He had just four hits on the season. That said, the center fielder had stroked back-to-back base hits in his two at-bats before that decisive inning-ending blunder in the eighth.
"It's tough," Hicks said. "The score was 6-3 and I was the tying run. So, I wanted to come up big right there in that situation for my team. I wasn't able to get the opportunity to."
Hicks went on to rip his third hit of the night when he came up again in the top of the ninth. Who knows what could've transpired if Sánchez safely made it to second base (or even stayed put at first).
"We got their leverage guys in there and kind of got ourselves back in the game with a chance," Boone said. "Anytime you make a mistake when you're climbing back into the game, it's always frustrating. So we got to learn from it and move on."
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