The Yankees had battled back three times and finally taken the lead — or at least they thought they had.
But a lengthy review took the go-ahead run off the board in the bottom of the eighth and the Yankees went on to suffer a hard-to-swallow 6-5 loss to the Red Sox on Sunday at the Stadium.
With two outs in a 5-5 game, Isiah Kiner-Falefa was going on the pitch when Anthony Volpe lined a single to center.
Left fielder Rob Refsnyder slipped as he collected the ball, which prompted third-base coach Luis Rojas to send Kiner-Falefa home, where he slid into catcher Connor Wong and was initially called safe, giving the Yankees a 6-5 lead.
“Everything happened so fast. I was surprised. I felt like I got a good jump on the steal, good turn, got the go sign. Went in there, I didn’t feel like I had a lane,” Kiner-Falefa said. “I think the rule is if you’re a catcher and you’re over the foul line, it’s considered blocking the bag.
“The ball did beat me, but I don’t know. I didn’t feel like they had enough to overturn it.”
After reviewing the play, the call was overturned.
The Yankees then challenged that Wong was blocking the plate, but that call stood.
Both Yankees manager Aaron Boone and Kiner-Falefa said they weren’t totally confident he was safe, but neither had seen a replay (they saw the ones shown on the video board at the stadium) that they thought showed Kiner-Falefa was clearly out — which it would need to show to overturn the safe call.
“I couldn’t tell. I just went in as hard as I could, and once he called me safe, it was like OK. And I saw the replay on the big screen. I haven’t watched it yet, but on the big screen, [I] definitely didn’t see anything where he clearly tagged me,” Kiner-Falefa said. “So, I thought I got in there or I didn’t think they had enough to overturn it.”
An MLB replay supervisor said in a statement the replay official “definitively determined that the catcher tagged the runner prior to the runner touching home plate.”
As for blocking the plate, the supervisor said, “The catcher’s initial setup was legal and he moved in reaction to the trajectory and hop of the throw.”
Before his postgame press conference, Boone talked to the league about the call as well.
“If I’m just watching a baseball game, it seems fine,” Boone said. “But some of the calls they’ve made on blocks, you’re like man it gets a little gray there. They said he moved.
“He was set up properly, which we agreed with in fair territory, and they said he moved late enough to catch where the ball took him. So, that was the explanation.”
The call ended the inning and the Red Sox took the lead in the top of the ninth.
“It’s tough. It’s tough. It’s a gut-punch today and especially in the fashion we lost,” Kiner-Falefa said.