Girardi: ‘I screwed up’

NEW YORK — After a crushing loss, Yankees manager Joe Girardi spent the night pondering his decision not to challenge a critical hit-by-pitch call during a game-changing sixth inning.

His verdict?

“I screwed up.”

Girardi took the blame Saturday after his call not to challenge possibly shifted the complexion of New York’s 9-8, 13-inning defeat in Game 2 of an AL Division Series against Cleveland.

“I take responsibility for everything,” Girardi said during a day off. “And I feel horrible about it.”

New York trails 2-0 in the best-of-five series. Game 3 is tonight at Yankee Stadium.

With New York ahead 8-3 Friday, Cleveland’s Lonnie Chisenhall was awarded first by plate umpire Dan Iassogna on an inside pitch by reliever Chad Green.

Catcher Gary Sanchez immediately asked Girardi to challenge, and slow-motion replays showed that the ball hit the knob of Chisenhall’s bat. The question was whether it first grazed Chisenhall’s hand.

Plate umpires often rely on sound more than sight on such plays, making calls based on what they hear — as in, did a pitch nick the body, the bat or both? To get the ruling reversed, an umpire in the replay room would’ve needed definitive proof the ball completely missed Chisenhall’s hand.

Sanchez caught the 0-2 pitch, which would have been an inning-ending third strike if ruled a foul tip.

Girardi relies on coaching assistant Brett Weber to scour replays before challenging. Weber didn’t see anything conclusive in the 30-second window allotted by Major League Baseball to request a review, and so Girardi disregarded Sanchez’s plea and didn’t challenge.

Weber and the Yankees didn’t get the slo-mo replay until Francisco Lindor was already at-bat. Lindor hit a grand slam off Green to make it 8-7, sparking a dramatic comeback by Cleveland.

Red Sox return home

BOSTON — If the Boston Red Sox are nervous about the possibility of being swept out of the playoffs for the second straight year, they were trying hard not to show it on Saturday.

A year after losing in David Ortiz’s final game and being eliminated 3-0 by the Cleveland Indians in the AL Division Series, Boston returns to Fenway Park again on the cusp of another early postseason exit.

The Houston Astros picked apart Boston’s top two starting pitchers in Games 1 and 2, roughing up Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz in back-to-back, 8-2 victories at Minute Maid Park.

With a victory in Game 3 today, Houston can advance to a league championship series for the first time since 2005, when it made it to the World Series. Brad Peacock starts for the Astros.

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