Frustrated Tigers lose fourth straight, 14th in last 16
New York — Forty minutes after the game and Spencer Turnbull was still agitated.
"I don't know if I've ever been that mad coming out of a game," said the Tigers right-hander after the Detroit Tigers' 6-4 loss to the New York Yankees Saturday. "Just because if I don't walk (Gary) Sanchez there in the sixth, we probably end up winning the game."
The Yankees ended up scoring four times in that sixth inning, after Turnbull first hit Aaron Hicks with a 1-2 slider and then walked Sanchez.
"I was trying to execute a really good slider on 1-2 and my foot slipped," Turnbull said. "I ended up yanking it and hitting him in the foot. That was frustrating and then I completely lost it on Sanchez. I just put us in a terrible position."
Jose Cisnero took over and walked Clint Frazier to load the bases. But he very nearly rescued the inning. He got Brett Gardner to pop out and he struck out D.J. LeMahieu.
But Aaron Judge, who produced five hits, two home runs (including a grand slam) and eight RBIs in the first two games of this series, lined a two-run single into right-center field.
Gleyber Torres followed with another two-run single to put the Tigers in a 6-1 hole.
"I just wasn't getting ahead, not attacking the strike zone the way I should have and I don't really know why," Turnbull said. "I don't know what was off, why my slider wasn't as sharp as it has been. I was able to battle out of most of it, but the sixth really came back to hurt us.
"I'm surprised I didn't break anything in the dugout when I came out. I really want that one back. We had a really good chance to win the game going into the sixth inning and two batters changed it. That's on me."
It was the fourth loss in a row for the Tigers and their 14th in the last 16 games.
"It was a winnable game and I thought our guys hung in and continued to compete," Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. "But I don't worry about our guys competing. I don't worry about them shutting it down and being disinterested. But it sucks going through this."
The Tigers weren’t doing much against Yankees starter Jameson Taillon. A solo home run by Jeimer Candelario was the only mark. They did have him on the ropes in the fifth. Then this happened:
It was a 1-1 score. Niko Goodrum was on second. JaCoby Jones hit a ground ball that looked like it might beat the Yankees’ shift to the left of shortstop Torres.
Instead of being a go-ahead RBI, the ball hit Goodrum on the foot as he was running to third. Out. Dead ball.
"I asked him about it during the next pitching change," Hinch said. "He said, 'I've never been hit in the foot before on a ball hit up the middle.' He just broke (for third) and his foot is hanging behind him and of course it's going to hit him.
"It was a big play, more of a bad-luck thing than anything. You don't see it very often but of course you see it in a game where we had an opportunity."
The inning was still alive, though, after Taillon walked Robbie Grossman and Willi Castro with two outs to load the bases. The stage was set for Miguel Cabrera.
It would have been a storybook moment for him to tie Babe Ruth on the all-time hits chart, in New York with Ruth’s plaque in Monument Park behind the center-field wall, but the Tigers aren’t writing fairy-tale endings these days.
Cabrera, for the second time in two at-bats, struck out swinging at an elevated, 94-mph fastball.
And, typical of the way things have been going, the Yankees broke the tie in the bottom half of the fifth on Judge’s double.
"Sometimes you are going to have good moments and sometimes you are going to have bad moments," said Candelario, who had three hits on the day. "Just try to keep it positive. We always picking each other up. We got each other's backs."
The Tigers' bats perked up late against the Yankees bullpen. Jonathan Schoop cashed in on two walks by former Tiger Justin Wilson in the seventh, looping a two-run single.
Then Goodrum launched a second-deck home run to right field off Chad Green in the eighth. It was the fourth of the season for Goodrum.
The fun stopped abruptly in the ninth when Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman entered. With his fastball hitting 101 mph, he closed it out without much fuss.