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Yankees 7, Tigers 5: Jordan Zimmermann, bullpen blow early lead in loss

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The Tigers led 3-0, but couldn’t hold on late in a frustrating game at Yankee Stadium.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Zimmermann took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. That this fact became a footnote tells you how the rest of this game went. Zimmermann faltered in the middle innings, and the New York Yankees erased an early 3-0 deficit to win a wild 7-5 game over the Detroit Tigers on Friday evening.

Zimmermann was sharp early in this one. He breezed through the top of the first, striking out a pair of batters before inducing a lazy fly out to end the frame. He received a little help from home plate umpire Nic Lentz along the way — which eventually led to Yankees manager Aaron Boone’s ejection in the sixth — but Zimmermann didn’t allow a baserunner until he walked Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth.

Meanwhile, the Tigers did everything they could against Yankees starter Luis Severino. Niko Goodrum opened the scoring with a solo home run in the fourth, his 15th homer of the season. The Tigers added to their lead in the fifth, when Jim Adduci lined a hanging slider down the first base line for a two-run triple. James McCann and Dawel Lugo scored on the play, giving the Tigers a 3-0 advantage. Severino struck out 10 and did not walk a batter, but the Tigers chased him after six innings and 102 pitches.

Then, things fell apart for Zimmermann. New York’s Austin Romine reached base on an error by Lugo to open the sixth inning. Lugo and shortstop Ronny Rodriguez then couldn’t quite turn a quick double play with Ronald Torreyes running down the line, and Zimmermann allowed a two-run home run to Brett Gardner just three pitches later. After Stanton flew out, Zimmermann gave up back-to-back home runs to Aaron Hicks and Miguel Andujar, which put the Yankees in front, 4-3.

The lead didn’t last long. Singles from JaCoby Jones and Jeimer Candelario against Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder put runners at first and second with two outs. The Yankees brought in lefthander Zach Britton to face Adduci, but Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire countered with Mikie Mahtook off the bench, who lined a single to right to tie the game. The Tigers took a 5-4 lead in the next inning when Nicholas Castellanos scored on a Ronny Rodriguez sacrifice fly.

Things went sideways after that. Joe Jimenez gave up a leadoff double and a one-out walk in the eighth, but looked to have gotten out of a jam against Luke Voit. However, Voit’s check swing was ruled just that by first baseman Paul Nauert, drawing the ire of Jimenez and Gardenhire. The Tigers’ skipper was ejected, and Alex Wilson gave up a two-run single and the lead just two pitches later. The Yankees added another run on an infield single to make it 7-5.

There would be no ninth inning drama in this game, though. David Robertson allowed a pair of baserunners — including Lugo’s third hit of the game — but shut the door from there to close out the game.

Things of note:

  • Niko Goodrum has more home runs per plate appearance than Nicholas Castellanos this season.
  • Dawel Lugo collected three hits in the game, his second, third, and fourth of his career. He also scored from first quite easily on Adduci’s triple down the right field line in the sixth.
  • Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected in the sixth inning, presumably because he was surprised at how well James McCann was framing pitches.
  • Jeimer Candelario nearly cost the Tigers the game-tying run in the seventh. Candelario tried to go first-to-third on Mahtook’s single, but was thrown out by a mile by Neil Walker — yes, that Neil Walker — from right field. Luckily, Jones scored before Candelario was tagged out.