Yankees 5, Tigers 4: Rivera proves human against Cabrera and Martinez, but Gardner walks off on Veras

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

In a game filled with blown opportunities and calls, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez homered off Mariano Rivera to tie the game. But Jose Veras served up a walk off homer to Brett Gardner in the bottom of the ninth to nullify the comeback.

Mariano Rivera blew his third consecutive save, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez homering in the top of the ninth to tie the game at 4-4. But Rivera ended up the winner, Brett Gardner homering off Jose Veras with two out in the bottom of the ninth, the New York Yankees walking off over the Detroit Tigers 5-4 victors.

Post game, the Tigers announced they were placing catcher Alex Avila on the 7-day concussion DL. Avila was a late scratch, suffering from concussion-like symptoms after today's batting practice.

Gardner's home run  made Rivera (3-2) the winning pitcher, allowing the game tying runs on a pair of Tigers' solo home runs. Rivera has blown three straight saves, the Yankees have bailed him out twice, winning the last two. Yankees' starter Andy Pettitte was not at all sharp, and was pulled after 4 1/3 innings. Yet he allowed only one run on eight hits and three walks.

Justin Verlander wasn't as sharp as he was in his last start, allowing four runs and seven hits, two of those home runs, in seven innings. The late comeback took Verlander off the hook for the loss. That would go to Veras (0-5), giving up the one run in 2/3 of an inning, losing for the first time as a Tiger.

The Yankees rode the home run to victory. Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano and Gardner all leaving the yard. A-Rod also added an RBI single. Brayan Pena led the Tigers with three hits, a home run and an RBI. Martinez ended his afternoon with three hits, Cabrera reached base four times, adding a pair of hits.

When you strand 12 runners, have every opportunity to score off off a misfiring starting pitcher and only push across one, make a brutal base running error, and allow three home runs, you're going to lose almost every time.

The Tigers did.

Andy Pettitte has been Jeremy Bonderman circa 2005, having allowed a first inning run in seven consecutive games. With help from the Tigers, Pettitte extended his franchise record to eight games.

Pettitte found himself in familiar first inning territory, putting runners on the corners with one out. Torii Hunter singled, taking second on Miguel Cabrera unintentional intentional walk. In a shocking development, Hunter stole third base without a throw! .

A grinding Prince Fielder battled Pettitte in a long at bat, winning the battle by singling to center, Hunter scoring to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. After a victor Martinez walk loaded the bases, Pettitte got out of a huge jam when struggling Matt Tuiasosopo (hitting .190 since coming off the DL on July 8) bounced into an inning ending 5-3 double play.

Pettitte needed 29 pitches to get out of the inning. Not a good sign for the Yankees, being their bullpen has been abused in this series.

Top of two, the Tigers' threatened again. Brayan Pena lashed a one out double into the right field corner, Austin Jackson walking with two down. But Pettitte pitched out of his second jam in as many innings, Hunter bouncing out to second.

That's three runners stranded in scoring position in two innings for the Tigers, who had Pettitte on the ropes but couldn't get the KO.

Bottom of two, Alex Rodriguez stepped into the batter's box to a mixed chorus of boos and cheers. The chorus became nothing but cheers when A-Rod turned on Justin Verlander's fastball and lofted a fly ball which cleared the Little League left field fence at the 318' mark. Rodriguez's first home run of the season knotted the game at 1-all.

The Yankees followed the home run with singles, resulting in another run Lyle Overbay singled, Curtis Granderson sending him to third with a one out bloop single to center. Edwin Nunez gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead with a sacrifice fly to center.

Verlander gave up back-to-back hits with two out in the third, the Yankees increasing their lead to 3-1. Robinson Cano looped a ground rule double down the left field line. Verlander nearly threw a fastball past Rodriguez, but he just got a piece of it, sending a cue shot down the right field line for an RBI single. It should have been a two base hit, but A-Rod stood at the plate, unsure where the ball traveled, thinking he fouled it off before realizing it was fair.

Arod_medium

Top of four, for the third time in four innings, the Tigers had a runner in scoring position. Once again, they couldn't convert. Pena singled with one out, Jackson doing the same with two down. But Pettitte pitched out of trouble by breaking Hunter's bat on a full count, the resulting ground ball to second ending another threat.

Despite having thrown 84 pitches through four, Pettitte was still in the game having allowed just one run.

Alfonso Soriano made a difficult day for Verlander worse, leading off the bottom half of the fourth by lifting a fly ball over the Little League fence in left, landing in the first row. Soriano's 20th home run of the season, and third as a Yankee, pushed their lead to 4-1.

It had been quite a while since we've seen one, but it was turning into one of THOSE games.

Verlander wasn't at his best, but was far from awful. Keep in mind both Yankees' home runs stay within Comerica Park's confines.

Leading off the fifth, a visibly hurting Cabrera drilled a liner into the left field corner. He barely made it second before the throw arrived. After an ugly three pitch Fielder strikeout, Martinez's ground ball through the right side found right field, Cabrera jogging to third on the single.  Tuiasosopo worked a base on balls, both loading the bases and ending Pettitte's afternoon. Pettitte was yanked after 4 /13 innings, two outs short of of qualifying for a victory.

Right-hander Shawn Kelley took over with one and the bases juiced. Hernan Perez helped Kelly out with in an awful at bat. Perez whiffed on three pitches, the the last two well out of the strike zone. Pena flew out to center, another opportunity wasted.

The Tigers were squandering away, having left ten on base through five. But when you're playing Hernan Perez almost every day due to injuries while other players are regressing to their mean  (Tuiasosopo), it's not surprising.

Top of six and still down three runs, Jose Iglesias led off by legging out an infield single. Kelley, wanting no part of Cabrera with two down, walked MLB's leading hitter. Fielder due up, Joe Giraridi played percentages, making the call for left-hander Boone Logan out of the bullpen. The squandering continued when Fielder ended the inning on a can of corn to left.

After 5 1/2 innings, the Tigers' LOB stood at an even dozen. Their season high for LOB is 14 ... which was set Friday night against the Yankees.

Two out in the bottom half of the six, the Yankees put runners on the corners. Verlander walked Granderson, Nunez reaching when his high chopper took an ugly hop over the head of Cabrera. Verlander proceeded to load the bases when he plunked Chris Stewart, who didn't bother to get out of the way on an 0-2 breaking ball.

Verlander got out of the inning by striking out Brett Gardner, but not without getting into a shouting match with home plate umpire Paul Emmel over the strike zone.

Verlander was incensed over what he perceived as a missed strike call, yelling:

"Oh, my God! How did you miss that? It was right down the middle!"

An equally incensed Emmel actually started to charge the mound, Pena keeping the confrontation from escalating.

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At the end of the sixth, Verlander and Emmel had a more peaceful confrontation, apparently agreeing to disagree over the strike zone.

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There might have been fire between Verlander and Emmel, but there wasn't any in the Tigers' bats. After a 1-2-3 seventh, Logan had retired four straight Tigers.

Verlander had one more inning in him, Leyland allowing him to pitch the bottom half of the seventh. He would end an unlucky effort in style, retiring the side in order.

Top of eight, Pena greeted Yankees set up man David Robertson with his fly ball finding the short porch in right. Pena's fourth home run of the season pulled the Tigers within two, at 4-2 (MLB.com video). Robertson had allowed an earned run for the first time since June 16, a stretch of 21 appearances.

Iglesias followed Pena's homer with a routine ground ball to short, which he just plain outran for his second infield hit of the day. Rodriguez made a nice back hand play to rob Jackson of a base hit. Having no other play, he fired to second, Iglesias called out on a bang-bang play.

Replays showed the human element was, once again, wrong.

Then things got even more ridiculous.

Hunter drilled a long drive to dead center, Gardner making the catch but hitting the wall, hard. Injured, he flipped the ball toward Soriano. In the meantime, Jackson had rounded second, but had NO idea what had happened, apparently seeing the ball laying on the outfield turf. Jackson started toward first, then back to second. He ended up standing cluelessly on second, and was easily tagged out to end a crazy inning. Call it an 8-7-6-4 double play (MLB.com video)

But none of the above goes down if the umpires make the correct call on the Iglesias play. Baseball loves their human element.

Verlander's day over, Phil Coke pitched the eighth. Nothing of note went down in a 1-2-3 inning, which is always good in Coke's case.

The score 4-2 in the top of the ninth, Mariano Rivera came on to close out the game. Rivera had blown his last two saves, including Friday night against the Tigers when Cabrera went yard.

We got a replay of the Rivera - Cabrera match up leading off the ninth. As Yogi Berra would say, it was deja vu all over again. Cabrera took a Rivera cutter the other way, clearing the right field wall for his third home run in as many days, pulling the Tigers within one at 4-3 (MLB.com video). Cabrera now has 36 home runs and 110 RBIs.

Cabrera is amazing. Simply, completely, utterly amazing.

One down and Martinez at the plate ... make it three straight blown saves for the Hall of Fame bound Rivera. Martinez wickedly turned on a Rivera cutter and found the second deck in right to stunningly, shockingly tie the game at 4-4 (MLB.com video). It was Martinez's tenth big fly of the season. Rivera's last three hits allowed to the Tigers have all been home runs.

Rivera got out of the inning with the game still knotted at 4-all.

Break out the "There's no quit in the Tigers" cliche. But dammit, it's TRUE.

Jim Leyland was hoping to give Jose Veras a day off. The game now tied, Veras was on the mound for the bottom of the ninth.

We saw why a not-sharp Veras was scheduled for a day off with two down. Gardner, who had done nothing at the plate all day, jumped all over a down the middle fastball, sending a no-doubt shot to deep right. Game over.

The Yankees are walk off winners, Rivera vulturing a victory. The Tigers lose in walk off fashion for the ninth time in 2013. Your final score is Yankees 5, Tigers 4.

You can point at the umpires, Yankee Stadium's short porches and bad luck for the loss. But truthfully, the Tigers earned this loss by letting Pettitte off the hook. They had numerous opportunities, but didn't convert.

Losing their first series since dropping 2-of-3 to the Royals July 19-21, the Tigers fall to 69-47 with today's loss. They also lose a game on their lead in the Central, the Indians seven back after beating the Angels. Still the Tigers have won 17-of-20, so it's not like the roof has caved in. Even better, they now have three games with the last place White Sox on tap.

The Tigers' road trip makes its final stop in Chicago for three games with the White Sox. Doug Fister (10-5, 3.50 ERA) takes on the poster pitcher for hard luck, lefty Chris Sale (7-11, 2.77 ERA). Fister has an eight game unbeaten streak on the line, and is 2-0, 1.23 in his last three starts. Thanks to lack of run support, Sale has a worse than mediocre 2-9 record over his last 12 starts, but a very good a 3.06 ERA over the same stretch. First pitch at U.S. Cellular Field is set for 8:10 PM

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs

BULLETS:

Alex Avila was a late scratch. Was it related to the head injury he suffered in Cleveland? No one is saying.

Post game, the truth came out.

Miguel Cabrera stat of the day: Cabrera entered today's game with 356 home runs, 82nd on MLB's all-time list. Soon to be passed are pair of Yankee Hall of Famers, Yogi Berra (358) and Joe DiMaggio (361). Nice company to be around.

Even though the Tigers are playing great baseball, not every position is firing on all cylinders. Left field is becoming a concern. Matt Tuiasosopo has regressed from white hot to stone cold, hitting .143/.273/.250 since the All-Star break. Not in today's lineup with the left-handed Andy Pettitte on the mound, Andy Dirks has been mediocre at best this season, entering today hitting .245/ .310/.347. (Small sample size alert!) Dirks' August has been brutal, .176/.364/.235 from what supposed to be a power position.

Speaking of troublesome... Prince Fielder's offense has gone in fits and starts, but more fits. He entered today's game hitting .238/.319/.345 with one home run since the All-Star break.

Alex Rodriguez's second inning solo homer tied him with Stan Musial for 6th on the all-time RBI list with 1,951 .  Cue the media gnashing of teeth.

Alfonso Soriano's home run was his 2000th career hit. There was no media gnashing of teeth.

Home plate umpire Paul Emmel as Justin Verlander fumes: "What's a strike zone?"

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Fastmap

Mariano Rivera's ninth inning blow up deserves it's own bullets:

  • It was the first time in his storied career he has blown three consecutive games.
  • The Yankees won both games Rivera blew in this series.
  • Today was only the fifth time Rivera had given two home runs in an appearance (the last was in 2009), two of those occurring when he was a starting pitcher.
  • Cabrera becomes only the third player to have two homers off Rivera, the others being Edgar Martinez and Evan Longoria.
  • Cabrera is the first to do it in consecutive at bats

Brett Gardner sent everyone at Yankee Stadium home happy with a walk off big fly. Matt Sussman sums it up:

THREE ROARS:

Brayan Pena: The Food Truck had a busy day with three hits, a home run and kept Verlander from getting into a fist fight with the home plate umpire.

Miguel Cabrera: Just another day for the best player in the game. Reached base four times, hit a home run in the ninth.

Victor Martinez: First half struggles all but forgotten, Martinez's three hits pushed his batting average to .281. The final hit was a stunning game tying home run.

THREE HISSES:

Jose Veras: Wasn't supposed to pitch today and looked like it. Served up the game winner to Gardner with two out in the bottom of the ninth.

Hernan Perez: Awful game for the rookie, especially the fifth inning. Stuck out with the bases loaded in the top of the inning, booted an easy ground ball for an E-4 in the bottom half.

Matt Tuiasosopo: Remember when Tuiasosopo was hitting well over .300 with power? After an 0-for-3, two strikeout day, he's down to .276 and has one extra base hit since July 13.

ROLL CALL:

Roll Call Info
Total comments 1,775
Total commenters 63
Commenter list AAnth, Alex Baker, BadCompany22, BigAl, Cabbylander, DJ Screw, Designated for Assignment, Elfuego51, Emil Sitka, Flying J, GWilson, GhostOfBigRed, Grzesio, House by the Side of the Road, JJMcEazy, JWurm, J_the_Man, Jack Beckman, Jacob30, JerseyTigerFan, JimWalewander, Joaquin on Sunshine, Jose Valverezias, KGW, Latif Masud, Lukas M, MSUDersh, Michigan&TrumbullinLA, MidnightRider66, NCDee, NickUM, RedWingedLigerFan, RewertsSpartan, Rob Rogacki, SanDiegoMick, Singledigit, SouthOf8Mile, SpartanHT, TN Ben, There Can Only Be One Verlander, Tigerdog1, TomduhB, Verlanderful, WestsideTigersfan, XFizzle, aarone46, dishnet34, dominator039, easeup53, frisbeepilot, jhitts08, jippolito, kland83, knucklescarbone, lesmanalim, lithium, longview, mrsunshine, sauce1977, stevenyc, swish330, texastigerfan, xBlazingSaddles
Story URLs http://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/8/11/4611056/game-116-tigers-at-yankees-1-05-p-mhttp://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/8/11/4611576/game-116-overflowhttp://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/8/11/4611790/game-116-overflow-2-tigers-at-yankees/in/4375089

TOP TEN COMMENTERS:

# Commenter # Comments
1 SanDiegoMick 172
2 RedWingedLigerFan 154
3 JWurm 108
4 BadCompany22 104
5 JerseyTigerFan 89
6 Alex Baker 83
7 SpartanHT 73
8 Verlanderful 70
9 J_the_Man 69

TOP RECS:

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
5 GWilson That's what Tigers do, they eat
5 J_the_Man This game
4 kland83 Only YOU can prevent HUBRIS
4 lithium Wow.
3 swish330 F*** the Umps F*** the Yankees
3 NCDee SSS
3 DJ Screw [no title]
3 JJMcEazy 6th

GAME 115 PLAYER OF THE GAME:

It was the tightest PotG battle ever at BYB, but Austin Jackson (29%) narrowly topped Anibal Sanchez (28%), Torii Hunter (25%) and Miguel Cabrera (18%).

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