The Yankees (95-51, 8.5 GA in AL East) jumped out to a six-run lead before a back-and-forth game ensued, ultimately suffering a 12-11 loss to the Tigers (43-100, 45.5 GB in AL Central, 40.5 GB for second Wild Card) Tuesday at Comerica Park in Detroit. >> Box Score
Five takeaways from Tuesday's game
1) Pitching ultimately failed the Yankees. LHP Nestor Cortes Jr. (5-0, 5.23 ERA) initially came out strong as the Yankees' opener, pitching a pair of scoreless innings in his first career start before he went back out for the third frame and ran into trouble. The Tigers caught up and tagged Cortes, who struck out two and walked one, for four runs (two earned) on six hits before manager Aaron Boone made the move to remove the southpaw with one out in the third inning and the Yankees leading 6-2.
RHP Luis Cessa failed to get the Yankees out of the inning unscathed, surrendering two runs on two hits as the Tigers tied the game up at 6-6. Cessa came back out strong in the fourth and fifth innings, retiring five straight before allowing a two-out solo shot to Tigers LF Christin Stewart and cutting the Yankees' 8-7 lead.
RHP Adam Ottavino was unable to hold the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, though, as 2B Harold Castro's ground ball to right field scored SS Jordy Mercer and tied the game back up at 11 apiece. RHP Chance Adams surrendered consecutive hits after a leadoff strikeout in the bottom of the ninth, allowing a one-out double to C Grayson Greiner before Mercer's walk-off single handed the Yankees the 12-11 loss.
2) While the bullpen sputtered over the course of a three-run sixth inning, the Yankees got the big hits they needed to mount their comeback in the seventh. After DH Edwin Encarnacion tied the game at 10 apiece on a two-run homer to left field, SS Didi Gregorius mashed the second of his two home runs as the Yankees retook the lead 11-10.
3) 2B Gleyber Torres continued to bring the Yankees power at the top of the lineup. Out of the leadoff spot for LeMahieu, Torres broke a 6-6 tie in the top of the fourth inning when he extended his single-season career in home runs (36) with a solo shot to left-center field and put the Yankees back ahead 7-6. Gregorius added to the middle-infield surge in the top of the fifth inning when he golfed his solo shot to right-center field, adding to the Yankees' 8-6 lead.
4) 1B Mike Ford and RF Tyler Wade sparked the Yankees' five-run second inning. First, Ford's RBI single to right field scored 3B Gio Urshela. Next, Wade's RBI triple deep to the right-center gap knocked in Ford. The couple of hits set the stage for Gardner to come back up and bust open a 6-0 lead on the two-run home run moments later.
5) CF Brett Gardner packed a punch on a pair of home runs from the two spot. Gardner's initial homer in the top of the first inning came on a solo-shot line drive to right field with a 2-1 count, putting the Yankees up 1-0. His next time up, he broke open the Yankees five-run second inning, attacking a 1-0 count and taking RHP Edwin Jackson (3-9, 9.76) deep again to right field on a two-run shot.
With the Yankees since 2008, the 35-year-old Gardner showed he still has plenty left in the tank, especially at the plate. Tuesday's two long balls put him at 23 on the 2019 campaign, surpassing his previous single-season career-high 21 in 2017
This game is bonkers.pic.twitter.com/Jy39k8L9Uq- Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) September 11, 2019
The Yankees continue their three-game series against the Tigers with LHP CC Sabathia (5-8, 4.93 ERA) slated to return from the 10-day injured list and start for the first time since Aug. 30, facing LHP Matthew Boyd (8-10, 4.57 ERA) Wednesday at 6:40 p.m.