The Yankees failed to take advantage of another strong start from Michael Pineda, and fell 4-1 in the final game of the series with the Tigers. Rookie Michael Fulmer stymied the New York offense all day, as the Yankee lineup looked limp with Brian McCann and Alex Rodriguez starting the game on the bench.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the fourth inning. Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez all singled to load the bases with no outs, and Nick Castellanos brought home the game's first run on a sacrifice fly. A Justin Upton single re-loaded the bases, but Pineda fanned Mike Aviles to end the inning with minimal damage.
The Yankees had little success against Fulmer early on. Their best chance came when Aaron Hicks led off the third with a double, but Fulmer quickly retired the next three batters in order to ensure Hicks never advanced. Fulmer worked quickly from the outset, and needed just 53 pitches to shut out the Yankees through the first four frames.
Pineda had to dance through more trouble in the fifth. Ian Kinsler walked to leadoff the inning, and went first to third on Cameron Maybin's groundball into left field. Pineda managed a big swinging strikeout of Cabrera, but the Tigers scored on Victor Martinez's RBI groundout. J.D. Martinez struck out swinging as Pineda again limited the damage to a lone run.
Pineda lasted six innings, and it was another step in the right direction as he attempts to salvage his season. He allowed just the pair of runs, while striking out eight and walking two. His stuff looked sharp, as his fastball velocity sat at 94.8 mph, even touching 97 mph at one point, while his slider evaded the Tigers' bats all day, consistently generating swings and misses.
New York had a significant opportunity in the fifth, when Austin Romine led off with a ground-rule double. Fulmer retired Hicks and Rob Refsnyder, but walked both Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner to load the bases for the venerable Carlos Beltran. Beltran could only manage a flyout to right, stranding the three runners.
The Tigers gave themselves some breathing room when Anthony Swarzak came on in the seventh. Aviles singled, and then scored on Kinsler's no-doubt shot into the left field seats:
Former Yankee Shane Greene relieved Fulmer after six shutout innings. The Yankees hardly made Fulmer work, as he worked economically in every inning outside of the fifth. He struck out and walked three, while allowing only two hits.
Greene worked a scoreless seventh and was relieved by another former Yankee, Justin Wilson. New York managed to get themselves on the board on Chase Headley's RBI single, but stranded two more runners when Didi Gregorius lined out to center field to end the threat with the deficit at 4-1. Francisco Rodriguez then navigated the ninth inning for his 19th save of the season.
The game was a positive development for Pineda, whose season ERA is now below six (5.88!), but it represented a second consecutive loss for the Yankees. After averaging nearly seven runs per game during their five game winning streak, New York could manage only two runs over the final two games of the series with Detroit. Tomorrow will be a much need off-day, as the team has played games on 20 consecutive days. The Yankees will return to action Tuesday night in Colorado with Nathan Eovaldi on the mound, looking to start another win streak.