Clint Frazier has drawn raves since joining the Yankees at the beginning of July and being a significant part of their recent turnaround.
But on Tuesday, when he had a chance to deliver a blow in the bottom of the ninth with the tying run on third base, Frazier popped out to short to end the Yankees’ 4-3 loss to Detroit in The Bronx.
“It’s the best feeling in the world or a heartbreaking feeling, not coming through,” Frazier said. “It’s part of it. I’m disappointed I didn’t get a hit to at least tie the game, but you can’t get them all.”
And since the Red Sox came back and beat the Indians at Fenway Park, the Yankees fell back into second place, half a game behind Boston in the AL East.
With the way the Yankees played against the Rays over the weekend, it seemed like the bottom of the ninth belonged to them.
Instead, after Jacoby Ellsbury drew a two-out, pinch-hit walk off ex-Yankee Shane Greene and moved to third when Greene threw a pickoff throw to first away, the Yankees still came up short.
The Tigers elected to walk Brett Gardner intentionally. And while it may seem unusual to put the winning run on base, Gardner’s two walk-off hits against the Rays in the previous series made the move understandable.
Gardner swiped second and the Yankees were a single away from another victory, but Frazier couldn’t deliver.
CC Sabathia allowed four runs in six innings in the Yankees’ 4-3 loss on Tuesday night.Paul J. Bereswill
CC Sabathia (9-4) took the loss, giving up a pair of home runs after surrendering just one homer in his previous six outings. With one out in the second inning, John Hicks hit a fly ball to right that carried into the seats for a 3-0 lead after a 10-pitch at-bat.
Manager Joe Girardi called it a “Yankee Stadium home run,” since it drifted just over Aaron Judge’s head and into the short porch in right.
An inning later, Justin Upton made it 4-0 when he hit a home run to left with two outs. It was his 18th homer of the season.
The Yankees had a chance to cut into the lead in the bottom of the third.
Tyler Wade hit a leadoff double and moved to third with no one out on a wild pitch, but Gardner grounded to first, Frazier popped to second and Judge grounded to second.
For Sabathia, it was another discouraging outing.
He was unhappy about being removed in the fifth inning of his previous start, when he surrendered four runs to the Rays in a game the Yankees came back to win in 11 innings.
This time, Sabathia pitched out of trouble in the fourth, getting Dixon Machado to hit into an inning-ending double play with two runners on. As Sabathia walked off the field, he shouted at home plate umpire Mike Estabrook and Girardi also had some words with the ump. Sabathia was ushered off the field by Todd Frazier.
Didi Gregorius had a two-run homer and an RBI single in Tuesday night’s loss.Paul J. Bereswill
Didi Gregorius got the Yankees back into the game in the fourth. After Gary Sanchez doubled to left off Anibal Sanchez, Gregorius hit a line drive homer to right to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Sabathia settled down, but the lineup couldn’t rescue the lefty again.
It didn’t help that the first three hitters in the lineup went a
Matt Holliday, stuck in a horrendous slump, was in the lineup (batting sixth) in part because he entered the game 8-for-17 with a double and two homers in his career off Sanchez.
After a single in the second, the designated hitter doubled with two outs in the sixth before Chase Headley grounded to second.
With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Sanchez reached second on a single and an error and Gregorius delivered an RBI single to make it 4-3- but that was as close as the Yankees got, despite the ninth-inning threat.
“[Gardner] has done enough in the past to not want to be pitched to in that situation,” Clint Frazier said of the decision to walk Gardner. “And I’m the young guy coming up, still trying to set my feet in the ground. I was the weak link in their eyes. They capitalized on what they wanted to do.”