You could argue that the Kendry Morales at-bat in the seventh inning made absolutely no difference. The Yankees trailed by one at the time, and never scored the run that would have tied it, but it was certainly the Morales home run that put this game out of reach. And manager Joe Girardi took full blame.
“I screwed up,” he said.
The first pitch was an intentional ball as ordered from the dugout. Girardi had decided to walk the red-hot Morales to let Dave Robertson face Juan Rivera with the bases loaded. “I probably should have stuck with my first instinct,” Girardi said.
After that first pitch, though, Girardi changed his mind. He thought briefly about having Robertson finish off the walk — that’s why he came a few steps out of the dugout for just a moment — but ultimately decided to let Marte pitch to Morales.
“He’s been hot,” Girardi said of the Angels switch hitter. “But most of it’s been left-handed.” That’s very true.
When Marte fell behind 3-0, Girardi said he considered holding up four fingers to go back to the intentional walk, but this time he stuck with his decision to pitch to him. Francisco Cervelli called for a fastball away — Cervelli said he would have been fine with a ball four in that situation — but Marte threw a fastball down the middle.
“This is something I have to live with,” Girardi said.
Take a listen to the Girardi postgame audio. You rarely hear Girardi this conflicted about a decision. He usually sticks to his guns. To his credit, he took full blame for what happened.
That’s an AP shot of the Morales homer.