CLEVELAND (AP) — The New York Yankees tweaked their starting lineup for Game 4 of the AL Division Series on Sunday night, benching shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and starting Aaron Hicks in left field as they try to keep their season alive.
Rookie Oswaldo Cabrera, who started the first three games of the series in left, replaced Kiner-Falefa at shortstop.
Cleveland leads the best-of-five series 2-1. Game 5, if necessary, would be Monday night at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the decision to sit Kiner-Falefa was mostly driven by him not playing with his usual confidence. The 27-year-old Kiner-Falefa committed an error in Game 1 and has looked shaky on routine plays.
“I feel that in some big pressure spots throughout the season he has made big-time plays,” Boone said. “So he’s always answered the bell really well after a mistake. This time I feel like it snowballed a little bit on him in this series, so that’s kind of going into this.”
Cabrera, who was brought up as a middle infielder, let Myles Straw’s bloop in the ninth inning hop past him and turn into a double in Game 3 as the Guardians overcame a two-run deficit to win 6-5.
New York lost for the first time in 168 postseason games when leading by multiple runs in the ninth inning.
Hicks has not played in the postseason. He went hitless in his final 14 at-bats of the regular season.
Hicks will bat ninth and he gives Boone some needed experience. He has played in 28 postseason games, batting .223 with two homers and 12 RBIs.
Guardians manager Terry Francona didn’t make any changes, using the same lineup in Game 4 as Game 3.
If the Yankees force a Game 5, New York will start Jameson Taillon against Cleveland’s Aaron Civale.
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