ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- You could make a case that tonight's Yankees-Rays game was largely decided by a routine play that was not made in the outfield by Brennan Boesch. At the same time, things might have been even worse but for two terrific plays that were made by Eduardo Nunez.
• Boesch misplayed Kelly Johnson's fifth-inning single, allowing Johnson to get to second and the slow-running Jose Molina, who had been hit by a pitch, to get to third. Both scored two outs later on Ben Zobrist's double to right center.
New York Yankees
Said Boesch: "I just came up too quick. You try not to make an error all year, but it happened. Physical mistake."
Asked if he took his eye off the ball to see if Molina was heading to third, Boesch said, "Maybe out of the corner of my eye. Ninety-nine times out of 100 times you make that play and it just happened to be that today it didn’t work out. You just move on, try to pick the team up with your bat or make a play."
Joe Girardi would not go so far as to say that play decided the game, but did concede that without the error, "I'm not so sure that both runs score on Zobrist's hit. It'’s hard to say. Maybe [Andy Pettitte] gets a double play ball. It's just different."
New York Yankees
• Nunez made one of his outstanding plays in the second inning, sprawling on his glove side to snag Yunel Escobar's grounder and firing a one-hop throw to Lyle Overbay to make the out; Pettitte walked the next batter, so who knows if the game might have changed with two runners on. Then, in the sixth, Nunie took a page out of the Derek Jeter playbook, going deep into the hole, whirling and executing a perfect jump throw to first to nip Molina. There was a runner at first at the time and if that ball goes through, the Rays could have tacked on even more runs, not that it would have mattered the way Alex Cobb had tied up the Yankees bats.
Still, it was more evidence that Nunez's days of providing heart attacks, or at least comic relief, in the field may be coming to an end.
"Two tremendous plays, as good as it gets," Girardi said. "You look at both of them, going each way. To his left, and to his right, and having to slide to his left and get up and strong arm and then from where he threw the ball to get Molina in the hole. A lot of arm strength and a lot of accuracy."
Said Nunez: "I’ve been trying to prove I can do that, and I want to keep proving it. I have to keep working hard and I think I’ll be OK."