|You can only celebrate modestly on a winner that barely made it to the outfield.|
It wasn't quite Luis Castillo dropping a pop up with the Yankees down to their last out, but the Cincinnati Reds' "circle the wagons" routine that allowed Brian McCann's pop up to fall in was pretty close. Jacoby Ellsbury raced home from third with the winning run after McCann's "hit" fell between first baseman Todd Frazier, second baseman Skip Schumaker, and right fielder Jay Bruce.
Frazier had tied the game at a run apiece when he turned on a Dellin Betances 98-mph fastball in the 8th inning and sent it into the left field seats. But with triple-digit thrower Aroldis Chapman on the mound, Ellsbury reached in the 9th with a lead off single.It was his fourth hit of the day and the fifth time he had reached base safely. (He had earlier drawn a walk.) Ellsbury then stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch.
With the infield in, Chapman got Mark Teixeira to ground out to Frazier, with Ellsbury forced to stay at third. Chapman, again, made the pitch he needed to the Yankees catcher, but with Schumaker in on the cut of the infield grass, McCann's pop fly landed in the middle of Cincinnati's Bermuda triangle. Had Schumaker been back in his normal position it would have been a routine play, not that Reds manager Bryan Price had any choice but to play him in. Frazier mistakenly turned his back to the infield and actually overran the ball and Bruce was too far away in right to get there.
The victory gave the Yankees a three game sweep that enabled them to move to within three games of first place Baltimore in the AL East.
Next up, the stumbling Texas Rangers, who have lost 13 of 15 on the road.