CLEVELAND (AP) – The New York Yankees adjusted 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 fouled out in Game 1 and has looked shaky in routine play.
“I feel like in some big pressure spots 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 I feel like it kind of snowballed for him in this series, so it’s a little bit going into this.”
Cabrera, who was brought up as a center fielder, let Myles Straw’s ninth-inning bloop bounce past him and turn into a Game 3 double as the Guardians overcame a two-run deficit to win 6-5.
New York lost for the first time in 168 postseason games when they led 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 he gives Boone the necessary experience. He has played in 28 postseason games, hitting .223 with two homers and 12 RBIs.
Guardians manager Terry Francona made no changes and used the same Game 4 lineup 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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