<
>

Yankees poor in the clutch again

The Yankees scored six runs today against James Shields, which on most nights should be more than enough to win. But it turned out to be one too few for a tie, and part of the reason is that after Raul Ibanez's three-run homer in the third inning, the Yankees simply stopped hitting in the clutch.

In fact, they had just two hits after that bomb, and one of them was an infield hit. Still, they had plenty of baserunners -- Shields and the six Tampa Bay relievers issued seven walks -- but they stranded 10 runners and were just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. The main culprits were Curtis Granderson (0-for-5 including two Ks and a double play), Derek Jeter (1-for-4 but an inning-ending groundout with the bases loaded in the seventh) and Nick Swisher, who struck out to end the eighth with two runners on.

"I thought our guys put on some good at-bats today, but that's going to happen sometimes,'' Joe Girardi said. "It’s early. It is the first day of the year. You don’t expect these guys to be perfect. I thought we did a good job of manufacturing some runs and getting some big hits, but six wasn’t enough today.”