Hiroki Kuroda pitched a gem in Sunday night's ALCS Game 2 against the Tigers. But ultimately, it wasn't enough as a physically and mentally demoralized Yankee ballclub lost 3-0 to Detroit, falling behind two games to none in the series.
Kuroda, pitching on three days rest for the first time in his career, went 7 2/3 innings, allowing all three runs in the loss. However, the stat line for Kuroda is a bit harsh, as he was perfect through the first five innings, before a Jhonny Peralta single ended any hopes of postseason magic.
It wasn't until the seventh inning that Kuroda let the Tigers on to the scoreboard, as Delmon Young grounded into a fielder's choice that scored Quinton Berry.
An inning later, things got hectic in the Bronx. Omar Infante slid back into second base following a single by Austin Jackson, and appeared to be out — but not in the eyes of the man who matters most.
Second base umpire Jeff Nelson called Infante safe, sending those who remained at Yankee Stadium into an uproar. Manager Joe Girardi argued the call to no avail, and returned to the dugout.
The very next batter, Avasail Garcia, hit a soft line drive that scored Infante from second base. It was then that Girardi pulled Kuroda from the game and gave Nelson another piece of his mind. He was promptly thrown out of the game and watched the remaining six outs from the Yankees' clubhouse.
While fans may be quick to point out that the blown call caused New York to lose a close game, there were far other larger problems that hampered the Yankees' chances in Game 2.
New York managed a measly four hits in the game, including one with two outs in the ninth from — drumroll please — Alex Rodriguez. Other than A-Rod, the "potent" Yankee attack managed a double from Mark Teixeria in the first inning and two singles each from Nick Swisher and newly dubbed postseason hero Raul Ibanez.
The rest of the Yankee lineup went 0-21, and made starter Anibal Sanchez look like Nolan Ryan. Without closer Jose Valverde, manager Jim Leyland chose former Yankee Phil Coke to work two innings to earn the save, allowing only the Rodriguez single.
As a result, the Yankees will head to Detroit without a win in their home stadium and without their best hitter in the playoffs — Derek Jeter. Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson have yet to record a hit in the ALCS, and Jeter's replacement, Jayson Nix, went 0-3 with a strikeout in Sunday's game.
Injuries have caught up to the Bronx Bombers and their patchwork lineup is sputtering. With Justin Verlander scheduled to pitch Game 3, New York has some serious work ahead if they want any shot at bringing this series back to the Bronx.
Watch a video of the controversial call on Infante that eventually got Girardi thrown out of the game below.
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