Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bombers Let One Get Away to Tigers

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bombers Let One Get Away to Tigers

Article excerpt

DETROIT - Alex Avila's ninth-inning swing and the aching sound of solid contact told Yankees reliever Shawn Kelley everything he needed to know.

"I didn't watch," Kelley said. "I just put my head down."

Figuring the ball was headed over the fence, Kelley didn't see Avila's two-out drive slam off the right field wall after going beyond Ichiro Suzuki's leaping attempt.

Before pinch-runner Bryan Holaday scored from second base and the Tigers celebrated Thursday afternoon's important 3-2 victory, Kelley already had started a solemn trek toward the visitor's dugout at Comerica Park.

"About as bad as I've felt walking off a mound in my career," Kelley said. "Not good."

Thirty games are left on the Yankees' schedule, and there are only so many punch-to-the-gut losses manager Joe Girardi's team can absorb - especially against a fellow contender.

In winning two of three games, the Tigers (72-60) pulled even with the idle Mariners for the second AL wild-card spot and dropped the Yankees (69-63) to three games back.

"It's definitely not what we wanted but our guys played hard, played extremely hard this series, and we've got to go continue on to Toronto," Girardi said of a three-game set beginning tonight against the Blue Jays.

Facing a lefty making his first MLB start and second appearance in Kyle Lobstein, the Yankees were back to scrounging for runs -- less than 24 hours after scoring a stunning knockout of David Price.

Having tallied nine straight hits during an eight-run third inning in Wednesday's 8-4 win, the Yanks collected just five hits against Lobstein (1-0) and three relievers. Though from Girardi's vantage point, "We swung the bats better than we did [Wednesday]. We just hit balls at people."

Or else they hit it to the wrong side of the foul pole. At first, Brian McCann felt his two-out, ninth-inning drive off former Yankee lefty Phil Coke (2-2) would stay inside the right field pole for a tie-breaking, three-run homer. …

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