NEW YORK — Off Kelvin Gutierrez's bat, the ground ball to shortstop looked like a routine play. Other Yankees defenders started jogging toward the first-base dugout, thinking the inning was about to end.
After gathering and shuffling two times, however, Gleyber Torres' throw to Anthony Rizzo at first base wasn't in time. Gutierrez, the Orioles' speedy third baseman, had beat it out.
In a vacuum, that play in the sixth inning on Sunday afternoon was frustrating for New York, but tolerable. A two-out infield single can only hurt you so much. The problem is, Yankees right-hander Albert Abreu allowed a two-run home run to Baltimore's outfielder Cedric Mullins just five pitches later.
Instead of a 5-2 ballgame heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Orioles were gifted an opportunity to make it a one-run game. Considering New York went on to lose 8-7—dropping two in a row against the worst team in the American League—that play by Torres stings even more.
"It's a ground ball to short. We've got to make that play," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, not hiding his frustration after the brutal loss. "Looking back at it, I thought he moved his feet properly, he moved through it, but then—on a wet day, making sure he had the proper grip—ultimately took too much time in that spot."
When Torres stopped by the Yankees Zoom room moments after his skipper, he acknowledged that the field was wet on a rainy day in the Bronx. Torres wanted to make sure he didn't deliver an errant throw, securing a better grip on the damp baseball.
That's no excuse, though. The 24-year-old owned up to the misplay, taking too long to throw to first.
"It's my mistake in that situation," Torres said.
Torres went 2-for-4 with two runs on offense during Sunday's loss, finding a rhythm at the plate since returning from a lengthy stay on the injured list with a sprained thumb. Even with the promising effort on offense, surely that play on defense will stick with him when his club ended up losing by one run.
"If I made my play, Abreu would have finished the inning clean," Torres explained. "After my mistake. Mullins hit a home run. I feel like everything is on me in that inning."
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