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Yankees’ Gerrit Cole makes a ‘heads up’ play after a bunt somehow stays fair

July 22, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) reacts during the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium. / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Gerrit Cole was dominant again on Saturday afternoon against the Kansas City Royals, but he made a play on the field that may have been more impressive.

In the fourth inning, Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. laid a bunt down that pushed the ball down the left-field line. Neither Cole nor DJ LeMahieu would be able to pick it up and throw out the speedy infielder at first so they waited and hoped it would push foul.

Nearly three-fourths of the way to third base, LeMahieu tapped the ball thinking it was in foul territory. Home Plate umpire Lance Barrett immediately signaled fair ball to the shock of LeMahieu.

Cole, visibly frustrated, grabbed the ball but when he looked up he threw it to Anthony Volpe covering second base who tagged Witt trying to catch the Yankees napping.

“I thought it was fair,” Cole said after the game. “I think it’s foul by definition but from my vantage point I thought it was fair, so I was a little frustrated that we didn’t let it go a little farther but obviously I was wrong and it worked out in our favor.

“We made a good play and collected an out off of it. So it’s a good play by DJ. He was right.”

Cole’s play produced the first out of the inning and helped the Yankee ace get through the fourth without any damage. In between innings, manager Aaron Boone was seen talking to the umpires and explained what the conversation was about.

Boone admits he hasn’t seen the replays yet but those around him told the skipper it was foul but Barrett and his own pitcher felt strongly it was fair.

“I went out there because he was saying something about ‘your pitcher, your pitcher’ and so I wanted to know what [Barrett was] saying,” Boone said after the game. “And he said ‘your pitcher thought it was fair too.’ So it worked out. Good heads up play by Gerrit. Threw a strike to second.”

The Yankees would wind up winning 5-2, their second win in a row after dropping four straight. They now sit at 52-47 and their win out of last place in the AL East, and more importantly, just 2.5 games out of a playoff berth.

With the trade deadline approaching, the Yankees can use all the breaks they can get as they continue to fight for that final Wild Card spot.

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