By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — The New York Yankees changed their starting lineup for Game 4 of the American League Division Series on Sunday night, benching shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Aaron Hicks starting in the outfield. left as they try to keep their season alive.
Rookie Oswaldo Cabrera, who started the first three games of the series at 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 primarily because he didn’t play with his usual confidence. The 27-year-old Kiner-Falefa made an error in Game 1 and has been shaky on routine plays.
“I feel like at some big pressure points throughout the season he’s made big plays,” Boone said. “So he has always responded very well to the bell after a mistake. This time around I feel like it snowballed a bit for him in this series, so that’s kind of like going into it.”
Cabrera, who was raised a middle infielder, let Myles Straw’s ninth-inning bloop pass him and turned 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 last 14 at-bats of the regular season.
Hicks will bat ninth and gives Boone the experience he needs. He has played in 28 postseason games, hitting .223 with two home runs and 12 RBIs.
Guardians manager Terry Francona made no changes and used the same lineup in Game 4 as he did in Game 3.
If the Yankees force a Game 5, New York will start Jameson Taillon against Cleveland’s Aaron Civale.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.