Giveaway outs = giveaway runs
The last thing a team struggling with the bat needs to do is give the opposing team extra outs that often result in gift runs. Such was the case for the Yankees in the fifth inning Tuesday night at Toronto.
Oddly, it was Derek Jeter, master of alertness on the field, who was guilty of an infraction that ultimately cost the Yankees three runs and dumped them into a 6-0 hole against their old punching bag, Mark Buehrle.
Jeter was not solely at fault. Third baseman Yangervis Solarte was also implicated in what can be described as a rookie mistake. With two out and runners on first and third, David Phelps seemed to get out of the inning when Edwin Encarnacion hit a grounder to Jeter, who turned toward third seeking an inning-ending forceout.
Solarte was nowhere near the bag, however. Jeter then looked toward second base before finally firing to first base in an attempt to get Encarnacion, who beat the play. No error was charged, but the hesitation fielder’s choice loaded the bases for the Blue Jays and kept the inning alive.
Colby Rasmus immediately followed with a drive off the right field wall missing a grand slam by inches for a two-run single. A third run scored when Rasmus beat Jeter back to the bag at first base in a rundown. Jeter appeared to lose a step chasing Rasmus as he eyes Encarnacion coming down the third base line.
Ragged defense must be avoided at all times, but especially when runs are tough to come by, which they have been for the Yankees. They entered the game averaging merely four runs per game and trailing opponents by 35 runs for the season.