The New York Yankees’ offensive slump reached a new low in its first postseason game since 1995 without Derek Jeter in the lineup.
The Yankees were shut out by the Detroit Tigers 3-0 yesterday at Yankee Stadium as Anibal Sanchez and Phil Coke combined on a four-hitter. The Tigers have held the Yankees scoreless in 20 of 21 innings in taking a two-games-to-none lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series.
“They are not going to put it on a tee for us,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after the team was held without a run in a postseason game for the first time since Oct. 18, 2010. “We are more than capable of scoring runs. We have to make adjustments.”
The St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 6-4 in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series last night as Carlos Beltran and David Freese hit two-run home runs. The Giants host Game 2 of the best-of-seven Major League Baseball playoff series tonight.
The ALCS now shifts to Detroit, where 2011 American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander is the Tigers’ starting pitcher for Game 3 tomorrow. The Yankees’ postseason batting average has dropped to .205, with Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher hitting a combined .133 with 34 strikeouts in 75 at-bats.
Yankees All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, who hit .615 (24-for-39) over the final nine games of the regular season, is hitless in his last 26 at-bats. It’s the longest hitless streak in the franchise’s postseason history.
“It’s unsettling,” Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long told reporters in the team’s locker room. “When the offense is struggling like it is, there’s no sense in pointing fingers and all that. We just have to get better as a unit.”
The Yankees lost Game 1 of the ALCS 6-4 in 12 innings two days ago, a game in which they also lost Jeter, their captain, for the rest of the playoffs with a fractured left ankle.
Yesterday, the Yankees failed to take advantage of a strong outing by pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who started on three days’ rest for the first time in his career and held the Tigers hitless until the sixth inning.
The Tigers finally broke through in the seventh inning, as Quintin Berry led off with a ground-rule double and scored on a groundout by Delmon Young.
Detroit added two more runs in the eighth inning after a mistake by second base umpire Jeff Nelson. Kuroda allowed consecutive two-out singles to Omar Infante and Austin Jackson. Television replays showed Infante was tagged out after he dove back into second base following Jackson’s hit. Nelson ruled Infante was safe, leading Girardi to get ejected on his 48th birthday after arguing the call.
Pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia followed with a run-scoring single off Yankees reliever Boone Logan and Miguel Cabrera’s single to right off Joba Chamberlain pushed the Tigers’ lead to 3-0. Nelson acknowledged his mistake after the game and Girardi called for MLB to use replay to ensure calls are correct.
“I am not saying we win the game if the call was right,” Girardi said. “But in this day and age there is too much at stake, and the technology is available.”
Former Yankees manager Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations, said Nelson made the wrong call and that the mistake gets “magnified” by technology. Torre said baseball continues to look into using instant replay.
“I understand Joey’s frustration,” Torre said. “You want everything to be perfect and it’s not perfect. It’s frustrating. Umpires, players, managers, they’re all human.”
The Yankees still only had two runners get as far as second base against Sanchez, who was acquired in a July trade with the Miami Marlins and had allowed seven runs over three innings in his previous start against New York this season on Aug. 8. Sanchez scattered three hits over seven innings, with three walks and seven strikeouts.
A day after scoring four runs in the ninth inning against Jose Valverde to rally from a 4-0 deficit, the Yankees were limited to a two-out single by Rodriguez in the final inning before Granderson struck out to end the game, eliciting another round of jeers from the home crowd.
“There’s a lot of guys getting booed and certainly that’s not a fun feeling, so maybe getting on the road will help us,” Long said with a shake of his head. “I’m not going to use that as the answer, but who knows.”
The defending World Series-champion Cardinals jumped out to a 6-0 lead in San Francisco by scoring two runs in the second inning and four more in the top of the fourth.
All six runs came against Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner. The Giants scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning against Cardinals starting pitcher Lance Lynn and then were held scoreless by the St. Louis bullpen over the final 5 1/3 innings.
“It’s best out of seven and we’ve shown how resilient we can be,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We hate to lose at home, but it happens. We have to wash this one off and come out and be ready to go.”