Yankees quick to defend Gary Sanchez over dooming wild pitch

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The box score blames Zack Britton. He accepts the fault, too. But Gary Sanchez can rarely sidestep all responsibility on a wild pitch. He can’t escape his reputation.

With a tie score, runner on first and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Rays, Britton threw a blockable sinker in the dirt short of Sanchez, which bounced past the catcher and allowed Brandon Lowe to advance to second. Three batters later, Lowe scored the winning run.

When asked about the pitch, Aaron Boone quickly defended the catcher, who has twice led the American League in passed balls.

“Sinker in the dirt. Because it’s Gary it’s gonna be a big deal,” Boone said. “But a sinker in the dirt to the other side is usually gonna end up at the backstop.”

Britton, who hadn’t allowed a run in his first five appearances of the season, later got crossed up again with Sanchez. The lefty said he wasn’t sure what happened on a slider which nearly allowed the winning run to score from third, but Britton said he is clear about the wild pitch.

Gary Sanchez
Gary SanchezGetty Images

“That’s a tough pitch for anybody to block,” Britton said. “Obviously that’s a pitch I use to try to get a swing if I feel like the hitter is gonna be aggressive. That one was too short. That’s a tough pitch to block. Not many guys are gonna block that ball. That’s on me to make a better pitch in that situation so the guy doesn’t advance.”

Seeing anyone on base against Britton (0-1) was unusual. In his previous four outings, Britton hadn’t allowed a baserunner. In two-thirds of an inning Sunday, he gave up two hits and one walk.

“I just wasn’t very sharp with really anything from the get go,” Britton said. “Nothing specifically, you go through parts of a season where you’re not as sharp as the previous one. You have to make adjustments on the fly and I wasn’t able to make adjustments to get us out of that inning. … That was my time to come in and get a couple innings for our guys and it’s frustrating to come in there and not be sharp.”


Aroldis Chapman threw a bullpen session Saturday in Scranton and could face live hitters as soon as Tuesday. … DJ LeMahieu went 2-for-4, raising his batting average to .397. … Aaron Judge went 0-for-5, leaving five men on base.

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