Joe Girardi’s list of substitutions in the eighth inning Saturday at Nationals Park was so lengthy that New York Yankees reliever Boone Logan arrived at the mound before his manager had finished rattling them off.
The first payoff of the moves was immediate, if controversial; the second took a bit longer. But it was that double switch that helped lift New York to a 5-3 win in 14 innings over the Washington Nationals.
Logan hovered in the middle of the infield grass as Cory Wade gripped the baseball on the mound. Logan knew he was entering the game, but Girardi had yet to make it a formality.
The Yankees manager remained with plate umpire Tim Timmons as the two studied the lineup card.
Girardi told Timmons: Logan would relieve Wade at pitcher and Jayson Nix would enter the game as the left fielder; DeWayne Wise would shift from left field to right and Andruw Jones would head to the bench; Logan would bat fifth and Nix would hit in the pitcher’s spot. Clear?
“It felt weird,” Logan said. “I didn’t want to get up there when [Wade] was still on the mound. I was just hanging out. I saw Joe back there; I don’t know what he was doing. And I said, ‘I’m just going to stay here for a while.’ ”
The decision to keep in Wise paid off quickly, as he threw out Tyler Moore trying to score on a single by Adam LaRoche to end the eighth and keep the score tied at 3.
Replays showed Moore beat the throw, but a wide, sweeping tag by catcher Russell Martin may have been enough to distract the umpire.
Girardi said he hadn’t seen a replay of Wise’s throw. He simply shrugged and smiled when told what he might see upon watching the video. “There are some other things I might disagree with,” he said.
Wise, who entered as a defensive substitution at the start of the eighth, said he was helped by the hop the ball took toward him in right field. Girardi said replacing Jones with Wise was simply a “gut feeling.”
It took another six innings for the insertion of Nix to pay dividends. He led off the 14th inning with an infield single — his team’s first hit since Eric Chavez’s two-run double in the sixth and his first hit since June 10. Nix then promptly stole his first base since June 1. He advanced to third on Derek Jeter’s single and scored the winning run two batters later on Mark Teixeira’s double.
“I didn’t know that,” Nix said of snapping his team’s slump at the plate. “I noticed it had been a while since anybody had scored a run. I didn’t know a hit had been that long.”