In Game 2 of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Mets, Aaron Boone turned to Gary Sanchez to pinch hit with the bases loaded in the first frame of extra innings.
Prior to the at-bat, Sanchez was struggling immensely at the plate and batting .130, leading some to question Boone’s choice to sub him in at such a crucial point of the game. But according to the Yankees skipper, he thought Sanchez was primed for the matchup against Mets relief pitcher Drew Smith.
“I liked the matchup and felt like it was Gary’s spot,” Boone said after the game.
And his spot it was, as The Kraken crushed the first extra-inning, pinch-hit grand slam in franchise history to give the Yankees a 5-1 lead that would be enough for the win.
“I wanted to go into the box looking to put a good swing on the ball. …I believed that if I hit the ball well that a deep fly ball would give us the lead and lucky enough I hit that and it kept on going and it left the park,” Sanchez said through a translator.
It’s been a tough season overall for Sanchez, who aside from slashing .130/.256/.338, has also had his issues at catcher with blocking wild pitches or balls that hit the dirt early.
“Anytime it’s been a struggle, and we’ve all kind of been there, you want to get some results. You want to come through in a big spot in the worst kind of way,” Boone said about Sanchez’s struggles this season. “Sometimes you’ve got to back off a little bit and just really focus on having good at-bats and winning pitches. He went out there tonight and had a great at-bat and was able to finish it off. I’m excited for him, he means so much to this team.”
“I’ve been very anxious to contribute to the team, especially when you’re going through a rough patch,” Sanchez said. “You’re not helping and not producing for the team the way you’re expected to…”
Such a huge moment this “deep” into a season could be a wake up call for some players, so was this grand slam the spark Sanchez needed to potentially return to All-Star form?
The Yankees could really use his bat as they continue to get bit by the injury bug this season.