Any time Brett Gardner hits the ball on the ground, he believes he has a chance to reach base. He’s fast enough to force an error or beat out a routine play. Last night, he got the Yankees started in that five-run eighth inning by beating out an infield single. The play became little more than a race to the bag, and Gardner got there just ahead of C.J. Wilson.
“He’s a good athlete,” Gardner said. “He got over there pretty quick. Most lefties, I’m able to beat them over there by a step or two but this one was really close.”
Why the headfirst slide into first base?
“Everything is going so fast, I don’t even know what I’m thinking,” Gardner said. “I just feel like sometimes I can get there quicker depending on how my body’s leaning and how my steps pan out when I’m getting closer to the bag. It’s just kind of an instinct thing.”
Maybe the slide made a difference. Maybe it didn’t. Either way, it worked.
“As a manager, you hold your breath,” Joe Girardi said. “Because a lot of times, that’s where you see hands get hurt or shoulders get hurt diving into first base. But he felt it was the right move, and it worked out well for us, and Gardy always plays extremely hard. We love the way he plays the game.