There was a moment tonight when it looked like the Yankees may have turned a corner. They fell behind in the fourth inning when Dioner Navarro sent a David Phelps offering deep to right field for a three-run homer before falling behind further when woeful infield defense on the part of Derek Jeter allowed Colby Rasmus to clear the bases on a single to right and then safely retreat to first base after being briefly caught in a rundown. Jeter attempted to atone for his mental mistakes by clubbing a solo homer in the sixth inning to pull the Yankees to within five. Brian Roberts got in on the dinger party with a two-run shot of his own in the seventh. Brett Gardner doubled and Jeter walked before a Jacoby Ellsbury single plated Gardner. Suddenly, the Yankees found themselves on the receiving end of some poor infield defense when a Jose Reyes throwing error allowed Mark Teixiera to reach while Jeter and Ellsbury came around to score.
David Phelps lasted only five innings, giving up six earned runs in the process. You can probably argue that some of those shouldn't be earned because of infield disaster, but the official scorer decided not to be so kind. Matt Thornton worked a clean inning before giving way to Dellin Betances for two innings. The big right-hander struck out two and worked out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in his second inning of work.
After clawing their way back from down six runs, there was a glimmer of hope that the Yankees' offense could scratch their way to a stolen victory. They did the hard part in tying the score, so how hard could one more run be? Very hard, apparently. Brett Gardner reached on a single in the ninth inning and moved to second on a Jeter groundout. Ellsbury grounded out to send Gardner to third but Teixeira struck out to end the threat. Adam Warren came on to work the ninth inning and he didn't get to stay long. Reyes greeted Warren with a leadoff double and another defensive miscue by the Yankees on a Melky Cabrera sacrifice allowed Reyes to come around to score. Miscommunication between Yangervis Solarte and Warren caused some hesitation about which of them would field the ball. Solarte grabbed it and rocketed it past first base. There was no need to hurry the throw. Only Reyes' run mattered at that point. It was ballgame, nonetheless.
Jeter's homer was his second of the year and Roberts got his third. Someone look up the prices of milk/eggs/bread/gas the last time those two homered in the same game. Solarte's game-ending error was his seventh on the season. Teixeira and Carlos Beltran were the only Yankees to go hitless, but Teixeira did reach on the all-important error that tied the game. Beltran's season average dropped to .216. Phelps struck out seven batters, but his season ERA now sits at a fairly ugly 4.35.
While the game was at its worst, I decided some Microsoft Paint was in order to properly describe how things were going. It's not as meaningful now that they ended up scoring six runs but the general principle is still relevant, I think. I present to you a diagram of awful. Enjoy.
The Yankees get another crack at the Blue Jays tomorrow when Hiroki Kuroda takes on Drew Hutchison at 7:07 pm.