10/10/09 1:14 AM ET
Heads-up Yanks deny Twins crucial run
Jeter applies tag to end fourth as Gomez strays from second
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
The Twins now trail 0-2 in the best-of-five series, with Game 3 at the Metrodome on Sunday at 7:07 p.m. ET.
With two outs, Gomez stumbled while rounding second base and couldn't scramble back to the bag after third baseman Matt Tolbert had singled to right field. Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher threw the ball to shortstop Derek Jeter -- behind Gomez -- as Minnesota left fielder Delmon Young tried to score the first run of the game.
Young was a few feet from the plate when Jeter applied the tag on Gomez, keeping the run off the board.
"When I saw that throw, I wanted to get back to second. It was my bad," Gomez said. "I was running fast and I slipped. I tried to go back, because they thought I was heading to third. It was a mistake. That's the only mistake I made and it cost an important run."
The play was set up when Yankees starter A.J. Burnett hit both Young and Gomez with pitches with two outs in the inning. Tolbert then grounded a single to the right of Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, into right-center field.
Gomez fell a few feet after he rounded second with the expectation of taking third. Had he induced a rundown or simply avoided the tag, Young would have had a far greater chance of scoring. Instead, Jeter's quick tag led to the run being negated.
|Gm. 1||NYY 7, MIN 2||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 2||NYY 4, MIN 3 (11)||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 3||NYY 4, MIN 1||Wrap||Video|
"[Jeter] has been a heads-up player his whole career," Yanks manager Joe Girardi said. "Swish made a good throw to Jeet, and it looked like Gomez just slipped for a second. If he keeps going, the run is going to score. He slips, tries to get back and it's another break [for us]. But it's a heads-up play by our two guys."
The rule cited for the play in Major League Baseball's Official Rule book is under section 4.09, "How a Team Scores."
Rule 4.09(a) reads as follows: "One run shall be scored each time a runner legally advances to and touches first, second, third and home base before three men are put out to end the inning. EXCEPTION: A run is not scored if the runner advances to home base during a play in which the third out is made (1) by the batter-runner before he touches first base; (2) by any runner being forced out; or (3) by a preceding runner who is declared out because he failed to touch one of the bases."
"He was a little overzealous there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said about Gomez. "He rounded a little bit. It's pretty damp out there on the infield -- they keep it a little soft, and he spun out trying to get back. That's not a good play. You either just keep going or you have to recognize it's coming in right behind you and shut it down."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.