NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 29: Austin Jackson #14 of the Detroit Tigers attempts to catch Curtis Granderson #14 of the New York Yankees (not Pictured) fourth inning home run at Yankee Stadium on April 29, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
The Detroit Tigers fell to the New York Yankees 6-2, dropping the series 2 games to 1. Max Scherzer once again struggled (not completely of his own volition), and the Tigers' offense, which had shown signs of life in splitting the first 2 game of the series, went flat in the rubber game.
The bottom of the 1st inning was a barometer as to how Scherzer's outing would go. Rough, though mostly no fault of his own. Scherzer had to pitch out of a bases loaded jam thanks to being blatantly squeezed by home plate umpire Rob Drake. His strike zone looked to be approximately 1/2 the size of Yankees' starter CC Sabathia's. I'm sure the Pitch FX will be hysterical.
The Yankees got to Scherzer in the 2nd, again due to a toxic combination of bad luck and worse umpiring. With 2 on and 1 out, Derek Jeter took an obvious strike 3...which was unsurprisingly called a ball. Jeter then grounded into the hole at short, Ramon Santiago making a diving stop, but had no play, loading the bases. Given undeserved life, the Yankees plated 2 on Tiger Killer Curtis Granderson's walk and and an Alex Rodriguez infield single. The scoreboard should have read Umpires 2, Yankees 0, Tigers 0.
The Tigers got on the board in the 4th, as Prince Fielder hit his first home run since April 7th, a no-doubt solo shot into the upper deck in right. Fielder doesn't need a short porch to in order to homer at Yankee Stadium.
But Granderson countered in the bottom of the inning. He hit a deep fly to left center. Austin Jackson leaped, reached far over the fence, sno-coned the ball...which fell out of his glove as he hit the wall. He was thisdamnclose to making one of the greatest catches you'll ever see. Instead, it went for a solo home run, Ganderson's 8th of the season. Just another frustrating sign the baseball Gods love to troll Tigers fans.
Thanks to the minuscule strike zone, Scherzer entered the 5th inning a pitch count of 98. He left with 119 pitches thrown and the bases loaded, having allowed 7 hits, 7 walks and somehow, only 3 runs. Making his first appearance with the Tigers, Luke Putkonen took over. He got out of the jam on a Granderson ground out. But the damage had been done by Rob Drake, as the Yankees were now into the Tigers' depleted middle relief (Duane Below was unavailable, being scheduled to start tomorrow).
But the wheels fell off in the 7th for the Tigers. With runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out, Rodriguez grounded to Santiago, who immediately fired home, his throw beating Chris Stewart...who slid under Gerald Laird's tag. Amazingly, Drake made the correct call on the bang-bang play. Blind squirrel, meet nut. Collin Balester came on for Putkonen, allowing a Robinson Cano sac fly to plate Jeter, stretching the Yankees lead to 5-2.
The Yankees increased their lead to 6-2 in the 8th, Andrew Jones taking a Balester 3-2 fastball deep over the wall in left for his 3rd homer run of the season.
And that, as they say, was that. Scherzer took the loss, falling to 1-3. Sabathia went 8 innings for the win, raising his record to 3-0. With the loss, the Tigers fell back to the .500 mark, at 11-11.
As much as I'd love to completely blame the loss on the home plate umpiring (which was questionable at best, God awful at worst), I can't. You need to score more than 2 runs to beat Yankees. The Tigers' vaunted offense can feel free to break loose any day now...