Estevan Florial’s blunder turns the tide in Yankees’ favor against Pirates

Estevan Florial is in action during the Yankees vs. Pirates game in PNC Park on September 15, 2023.
John Allen
Saturday September 16, 2023

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Yankees rookie Estevan Florial didn’t slide and ran straight to the second base against the Pirates. Call it a smart move or an error, but it became an important piece in the Yankees 7-5 comeback victory.

The Yankees were sure his act of error forced the Pirates to mess up things and allow the Yankees to add two runs and take an important lead, which ultimately contributed to their win at PNC Park.

Estevan Florial floored the Pirates

A pivotal moment unfolded as a run had just been scored on a walk, leaving the bases loaded, and the Yankees were on the brink of either tying or seizing the lead on Friday night. Aaron Boone, observing from the dugout, fervently cheered on his team, hoping they could sustain the late rally. It was a critical juncture when rookie Anthony Volpe stepped up to the plate.

But there was a moment when all optimism dissipated. Boone’s sentiments mirrored those watching the game as Volpe sent a two-hopper right to the Pirates’ shortstop thinking there would be a double play ending the game away from the Yankees.

“It looked like it was kind of tailor made there,” Boone said.

Certainly, the game took an unexpected turn, especially when Liover Peguero fielded the routine grounder with finesse and smoothly flipped it to second baseman Ji Hwan Bae for a forceout. Even though Anthony Volpe was swift on his feet, Bae had ample time to complete the throw to first, sealing the game and raising the Jolly Roger—an age-old tradition following Bucco home victories.

However, Yankees center fielder Estevan Florial disrupted the Pirates’ scripted ending with a baserunning blunder.

Immediately after Estevan Florial drew a walk with the bases loaded, narrowing the lead to just one run, he sprinted toward second base on Volpe’s grounder and, rather than sliding, continued in a straight line toward Bae.

This unexpected maneuver by Estevan Florial prompted Bae to hurriedly release a throw to first, but it short-hopped first baseman Carlos Rivas, who was unable to make the pick, allowing the ball to bounce toward the stands. Two runs crossed the plate, and the Yankees astonishingly took the lead.

The Yankees managed to tack on one more run before the ninth inning concluded, ultimately securing a 7-5 victory that had appeared to be another insurmountable deficit.

Estevan Florial’s unconventional slide—or lack thereof—may have played a role in Bae’s costly throwing error, contributing to the improbable turnaround.

“I think it probably did,” Boone said.

Estevan Florial’s decision on the basepaths was far from astute, as even the slightest brush with the shortstop could have led the second-base umpire to deem it runner interference, resulting in an immediate game-ending call.

“It was actually a mistake because if Estevan Florial makes contact with (the shortstop) there, they can call a double play,” Boone said. “This is not the play we want to do that on. (You do it) with two outs.”

Estevan Florial is typically a proficient baserunner. However, he managed to escape unscathed after a momentary lapse in judgment during Friday night’s game.

“I think we got a little bit fortunate there,” Boone said.

Yankees please with Estevan Florial

The Yankees are pleased with Estevan Florial’s performance since his recent promotion from Triple-A to take over center-field duties following the injury to rookie sensation Jasson Dominguez.

Estevan-florial-new-york-yankees
Twitter-@mgisel4

Estevan Florial made a comeback last Monday and participated in both games of two doubleheaders at Fenway Park during the Yankees‘ series against the Red Sox, where the team won three out of four games. He returned to the lineup on Friday night for the start of a weekend series against the Pirates.

During the Boston series, Estevan Florial recorded hits in three of the four games, going 3-for-15 with an RBI, a walk, a stolen base, and two runs scored.

Manager Aaron Boone expressed his satisfaction with Oswald Peraza’s performance, highlighting that he has been pleased with Peraza’s competitive at-bats in the four games he has played. Boone also noted that Peraza has contributed with a few hits for the team.

Boone believes that Estevan Florial, who is 27 years old, showed improvement during his time in Triple-A this season, and his offensive statistics support this claim. Over 101 games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Dominican left-handed hitter posted a .284 batting average, along with 28 home runs, 79 RBI, 25 stolen bases, and an impressive .945 OPS.

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