Yankees: Gary Sanchez’s insane throw in 9th helps preserve win over Rays

May 11, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) is congratulated by left fielder Clint Frazier (77) after a home run during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
May 11, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) is congratulated by left fielder Clint Frazier (77) after a home run during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez has quietly backed himself into the shadows this year after a scorching hot start.

He’s been slumping badly at the plate and is now splitting time with Kyle Higashioka. His defense hasn’t been detrimental, but it also hasn’t been breathtaking.

The Kraken needed something to redeem himself, and he played a big role in the team’s win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.

Perfect timing on all accounts.

Every run against the pesky Rays matters, so when Sanchez hit an opposite field solo shot to extend the lead to 3-1, fans knew that’d be greatly appreciated.

But we’ll get to that in a moment. This was the play of the night, and it came in the bottom of the ninth.

Gary Sanchez’s defense saved the Yankees late in the game vs the Rays.

Juuust as we were starting to get comfortable with Gleyber Torres’ defense at shortstop, he goes ahead and boots a little blooper off the bat of Austin Meadows in the bottom of the ninth to put the leadoff runner on.

Then Aroldis Chapman got behind the next hitter 2-0 … and that second ball was a heater that ricocheted off the backstop after it blew by Sanchez’s glove. Sanchez turned around, snatched it up, and rocketed a throw down to second to catch Meadows stealing. Got him by a hair. Instead of 2-0 with a runner on second and no outs, that removed the baserunner and allowed Chapman to focus on the hitter.

He got the next two guys, with a strikeout on a 100 MPH fastball to end it.

And how about that homer? Though it was a 1-for-4 night with two strikeouts and a double play groundout, Sanchez made up for it with this timely showing on offense and that heads-up defensive effort.

As long as he’s getting the job done in some capacity, he’ll have the fans off his back. Bringing the Yankees‘ win streak to three while beating the insufferable Rays? That’ll do.