Rapid Reaction: Tigers 6, Yankees 5

August, 7, 2012
8/07/12
10:25
PM ET


What it means: That the post-All-Star break slide continues for the Yankees, who have now lost seven of their last 10 and are 11-13 since the break. After a ninth-inning rally fell short in a 6-5 loss on Tuesday, the best they can hope for is to escape Motown with a split.

Rally close: The Yankees threatened in the ninth against closer Jose Valverde, who allowed an RBI single to Ichiro Suzuki and an RBI double to Russell Martin before getting Curtis Granderson to end the game with an infield pop.

Step back: After pitching well in five of his last six starts, Phil Hughes took a step backward, lasting just 4 1/3 innings -- his shortest stint since June 20 versus Atlanta -- and allowing four runs on eight hits. One of them was a solo home run and another a two-run double, both by Yankees nemesis Miguel Cabrera.. Hughes was done in by a 44-pitch fourth inning and a curveball with an unfortunate tendency to hang.

Step up: Hughes did climb to the top of one list Tuesday. Cabrera's fourth-inning homer was the 26th allowed by Hughes this season, putting him into a four-way tie for the most home runs allowed by a pitcher this season.

Walk him, already: In the first two games of this series, Cabrera is 3-for-8 with two home runs, a double and four RBIs. With 29 home runs, 95 RBIs and a .326 batting average, Cabrera is having an MVP-caliber season, and a Triple Crown is not out of the question.

Don't doubt The Binder: Joe Girardi moved Eric Chavez up to fifth in his batting order because, as he said before the game, "He's had really good at-bats against [Rick] Porcello," a judgment he made based on four career at-bats. But Chavez justified Girardi's move in the fourth inning, belting a two-run homer to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.

Heads up! You see something new every day at the ballpark, and tonight it was Yankees reliever Cody Eppley getting hit right on the NY logo in the middle of his forehead by Chavez's throw to the mound completing the around the horn following Jhonny Peralta's sixth-inning groundout. Girardi and a trainer rushed to the mound but Eppley, wearing a sheepish grin, stayed in the game.

Gloom at the top: Since being moved to the leadoff spot five games ago, Granderson is 2-for-20, and over the two games here in Detroit he has struck out five times in 10 at-bats.

What's coming: A column about why the Yankees should be afraid, very afraid, if they wind up in a playoff rematch with the Tigers this October.

What about tomorrow? CC Sabathia (11-3, 3.53), coming off a complete-game victory over the Mariners last week, faces righty Anibal Sanchez (1-1, 4.50) in Game 3 of this four-game series, first pitch at 7:05 p.m.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146