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Yankees lose 12-11 slugfest as Tigers walk off in the ninth

The Yankees had 11 hits and six home runs but it wasn’t enough to beat the worst team in the American League.

MLB: New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees traveled to Detroit on Tuesday to face the Tigers for the first game of a three-game series. After ripping off three straight wins to take a series in Boston, the Bombers kept rolling early on in tonight’s game, but an early lead quickly evaporated, and New York was left with one of their more bizarre losses of the season.

Brett Gardner started off the game with a solo home run in the first inning, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. The Yankees would then go on to extend their lead to six by the end of the second, and it looked they might run away with things. Yet what seemed like it should be a blowout morphed into something else entirely.

Here’s how this offensive onslaught began in Detroit.

After the Gardner home run in the first inning, the Yankees followed that up in the second inning by beating down on opposing starter Edwin Jackson even more. The Yankees ended up hitting for the cycle in the second inning with a double from Gio Urshela, a single from Mike Ford, a triple from Tyler Wade, and a Gardner’s second home run of the game. At this point, the game was 6-0.

However, this was a bullpen game for the Yankees, and the Tigers clawed their way back into the game, taking advantage of pitchers like Nestor Cortes Jr, Luis Cessa, Cory Gearrin, and Jonathan Loaisiga. The Tigers countered with a six-run third inning on six hits and a sacrifice fly.

Once this game was tied, it became a back-and-forth battle right up until the end. Gleyber Torres gave the Yankees a 7-6 lead with his 36th home run of the year in the top of the fourth. The Yankees next time up, Didi Gregorius hit a solo shot, taking the Yankees’ lead to 8-6. The momentum would then shift again, as the Tigers scored four runs between the fifth and sixth innings, making it 10-8 on four hits, a sacrifice fly and a solo home run.

Once again, the tables would turn as the Yankees followed up with a two-run homer from Edwin Encarnacion and a solo shot from Didi Gregorius, who joined Gardner with his own two-homer night, to grab an 11-10 right back:

In the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers tied the game once again on an RBI single from Harold Castro, scoring Jordy Mercer. The two teams would go scoreless in the eighth inning, but the Tigers would find a way to scratch a run across in the bottom of the ninth. Chance Adams allowed a double to the second batter he faced, and the next batter, Mercer, singled home the run to walk the game off.

This was a tough and uncharacteristic loss for the Yankees. To begin, the Yankees have the second-best record in the majors against teams with a record below .500 (52-20). They normally beat down on teams like the Tigers, and it looked like they were about to, even without some of their best hitters. However, the Yankees tried to avoid using their elite relievers, and Cortes, Cessa, and Gearrin proved unable to hold the large early lead. Those pitchers got beat tonight and the Yankees suffered the consequences.

At the very least, with the Astros getting pounded by the Athletics tonight, the Yankees won’t lose any ground in the race for the best record in the AL. They’ll look to get back on track tomorrow at 6:40 EST, as CC Sabathia makes his first start since August 20th. Sabathia has been nursing a knee injury that has gotten tougher to manage with age, but he’ll look to finish out the season as strong as he can.