Communication breakdown costly for Yanks

Gardner, Jones don't hear each other on fly ball, with Correa scoring on the play

Communication breakdown costly for Yanks

HOUSTON -- The general rule is that the center fielder should catch anything that he can get to, but in the final milliseconds as Brett Gardner camped under Carlos Correa's fourth-inning fly ball, he flinched at the sight of another glove unexpectedly approaching.

Gardner had been calling for the ball, but so was Yankees left fielder Garrett Jones. Their voices were lost somewhere in the roaring Minute Maid Park crowd, so neither player made the catch, which allowed Correa to circle the bases with the Astros' first run of their 3-1 victory on Sunday. It was ruled a double, and an error was charged to Gardner.

"As a center fielder, I called it and I've got to keep going for it," Gardner said. "I saw [Jones] come in late. As hard as he was coming, I figured he wouldn't hear me and he was going to make the play. It got by us, got between us and it probably should've been a double with him getting to second."

As Gardner tried to retrieve the ball, he slipped and kicked it toward the wall, which allowed Correa to race home safely and turned a sloppy miscue into something even more costly.

"They both were calling it and neither one heard each other," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Obviously it's a play that has to be made. It got loud and they didn't hear each other."

Jones has played left field only sparingly this season; Sunday marked his fourth appearance at the position and his first start, but Girardi preferred him there over Chris Young -- who played right field -- because of the short left-field porch, and said the communication wouldn't have been much different with Jones in the opposite corner.

"I saw him running. I saw him out of my peripherals coming," Jones said. "I don't know if I heard him; I saw him coming hard and I just pulled up. I was calling, so I was right there at the end. I saw him coming. I'm sure he was calling it, I don't know if I heard him or not, but I pulled up at the end there just seeing him coming. We both did the same thing -- saw each other coming and couldn't hear each other."

It is not the first time that a ball has fallen between Yankees outfielders this season, which Girardi is displeased with.

"We've had a lot of different outfielders this year," Girardi said. "You try to get them together as much as you can. Communication is important, ballparks get loud and you're not sure exactly where the guy is going to be, in a sense, because you haven't played a ton of games with him. But it's still no excuse. Plays have to be made."

Gardner put his hands on his knees and hung his head after the play, and after the fourth inning, he was spotted in the dugout apologizing to Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda.

"I just told him I was sorry," Gardner said. "As good as he threw the ball today, he didn't deserve to give up a run like that. He knows I'm trying my best out there, he knows Garrett is and we know he's trying his best out on the mound. It's just frustrating when you make mistakes like that."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.