The New York Yankees came into Thursday’s matinee series finale, desperately needing a win to continue their climb back into contention for the second and final Wild Card spot in the American League. Coming into this three-game series in Detroit against the Tigers, the Yankees had to find a way to win the series. The Bombers could ill-afford to take any steps backwards, especially after a players’ only, closed-door meeting to air out some issues and to get the bats going.
After winning 5 in a row, Detroit, and Rick Porcello put a screeching halt to their winning streak, winning the opener and increasing their lead over the Yankees in the Wild Card race. Kansas City has overtaken the Tigers, and if they can hold on, will win the division for the first time since their World Series championship season of 1985. The Yankees, who looked to be dead in the water, gained a couple of games in both the AL East standings and Wild Card with their streak.
After pounding David Price for 9 consecutive base hits, and sending him to the showers in the third inning of last night’s game, the Yankees came away with a series-evening 8-4 victory. Hiroki Kuroda stepped to the hill, in an attempt to help the Yankees escape the Motor City with a series win. The Tigers jumped out early, after catcher Alex Avila drove in Nick Castellanos on a sac fly, giving them a 1-0 lead.
The Yankees came back in their half of the third inning, as Jacoby Ellsbury hit an RBI single, scoring Zelous Wheeler, notching the score at 1 apiece. The Yankees briefly had the lead, as Brian McCann continues to show some life, driving in fellow former Braves’ teammate Martin Prado on a single that scooted past Ian Kinsler, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead. An inning later, Rajai Davis brought home Don Kelly on an RBI single, tying the score yet again, this time at 2-2.
Yankees’ starter Hiroki Kuroda once again gave his team a chance to win, tossing 7 innings, scattering 2 earned runs, on 4 hits, striking out 4, and walking 1. He gave way to big Dellin Betances, who snuffed out the Tigers’ hope in the bottom of the 8th, after a walk, a stolen base, and an overthrow. He struck out Miguel Cabrera to end the threat.
In the top of the 9th inning, with the score tied, Michigan-raised Derek Jeter, received a warm ovation in what was his final at-bat in his home state. He grounded out to the shortstop. After a Martin Prado fly out, and a Mark Teixeira walk, Carlos Beltran came through with a two-out flick single to move Tex over to third with McCann coming to the plate with the possible go-ahead run on third. Former Yankees’ reliever Phil Coke relieved former Yankees’ hurler Joba Chamberlain to get out of the jam. On a 1-0 count, McCann almost made the Tigers pay, as a long drive, hooked just foul. Coke recovered to strike out McCann to end the inning.
Shawn Kelley came out of the bullpen for the bottom of the 9th, as the scored remained tied. Closer David Robertson was warming up, but sat down when the Yankees failed to push Tex across the dish in their half of the 9th inning. Kelley promptly gave up a lead-off double to Victor Martinez, who was then lifted for a pinch-runner. A walk to J.D. Martinez put two runners on, with nobody out. Kelley bounced back with a big strikeout of Castellanos. That brought Torii Hunter to the plate for the Tigers, who was 0-for-5 as a pinch hitter this season, and 1-for-9 career against Kelley. After fighting off several fastballs, including one that topped 97 MPH, Hunter swung and missed at an upstairs fastball for the second out of the frame. After looking like the Bombers were going to get out of the inning, Kelley hung a slider to Avila, and he drove what looked like a 3-run home run, but it bounced off the top of the wall, scoring the winning run, and crushing the Yankees’ hopes after a hard-fought game.
The Yankees continue their road trip by heading north of the border to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays. Chris Capuano (0-2, 4.21 ERA) takes on fellow lefty Mark Buehrle (11-8, 3.41 ERA) for the Jays. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET from Rogers Center.