Running until you get tagged out

It looked for a while there as if the Yankees may have needed some base running drills. For the second straight game, they ran themselves out of a rally with the trail runner not paying attention to the third base coach, Rob Thompson.

In the sixth inning Saturday with the score 1-1, Brian McCann, who had doubled with one out, was still at second base with two out. Yangervis Solarte singled sharply to right field and rounded first base heading to second in hopes of having the Twins cut the ball off to go after him while McCann scored.

The problem was that Thompson put up the red light on McCann, a slow runner, which meant that Solarte was a dead duck at second base. Too bad for Solarte, who had three hits and got his batting average back over .300. Every times it seems that the eight-year minor league veteran is finding sea level after a torrid start, he gets hot again.

The same thing happened Friday night with of all people in the center of it Derek Jeter. He singled to right field with two out and made the same maneuver while Brett Gardner was being held at third base by Thompson. Gardner tried to bail out Jeter by coming down the line to draw a throw, but he got caught in a rundown and tagged out. Jeter got to third on the play but died there as Jacoby Ellsbury ended the inning with an infield fly ball.

“It’s my job in my situation, if you think there’s a play at the plate, you’ve got to go and try to go to second base to trade an out for a run,” Jeter said after the game. “But I’ve got to make sure he’s going. It’s not my job to think what’s going to happen. I have to know. Good play by them, but I assumed he was going. I shouldn’t assume.”

As it turned out, base running played a pivotal part in the Yankees regaining the lead over the Twins in the eighth inning Saturday. Ellsbury, who singled to center with one out, stole second and continued to third on an errant throw by catcher Josmil Pinto. After Brian Roberts walked, McCann smoked another double on a liner past Joe Mauer at first base and down the right field line to give the Yanks and Masahiro Tanaka a 2-1 lead.

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