Chase Headley and the Yankees came up just a few feet short.
Headley's bid for a tying home run in the 12th inning was caught at the wall, and the Yankees' three-game winning streak ended Tuesday night with a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
"We had a lot of opportunities to win that game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It was tough, but that's part of the game. The pitchers are asked to do a job. The hitters are asked to do a job. We're playing a very good team and it's going to happen sometime."
After David Price struck out 10 over 8 2-3 innings in his Detroit debut, Alex Avila homered in the 12th for the AL Central leaders.
Joe Nathan held on for his 23rd save in 28 tries, retiring Headley on a leadoff drive that was caught by right fielder J.D. Martinez.
"Two strikes, you know, you're not taking a full-blown normal swing. But, yeah, I felt I got enough of it that it had a chance. Unfortunately, it came up just short," Headley said.
The Tigers got Price from Tampa Bay last Thursday in a three-team deal minutes before the trading deadline. The lefty ace got to keep his No. 14 — center fielder Austin Jackson, who wore it with Detroit, was sent to Seattle in the big swap.
Price leads the majors in strikeouts (199) and innings (179 1-3). Bushy bearded Joba Chamberlain replaced Price, and the crowd booed the formerly clean-shaven Yankees reliever.
"I didn't know what to expect," he said. "I definitely had to take a couple of deep breaths."
The Yankees are in the midst of facing Detroit's three Cy Young Award winners. They edged Max Scherzer on Monday, and will next see Justin Verlander on Wednesday night.
Avila homered with one out off Matt Daley (0-1). Joakim Soria (2-4) got the win.
Daley, called up Monday from Triple-A for his fourth stint of the season with the Yankees, said he wanted that chance.
"That's when it's fun. That's when I want to come in, in big spots," he said. "When it's all on the line, that's when I want to be in there. That's part of what's frustrating as well. I wanted to come up big and put up some zeroes for the guys."
This was the Yankees' 16th straight game decided by two or fewer runs, and they're 9-7 in that span. It's the longest such streak in the majors since a 16-game stretch by Baltimore in 1975, the team said in citing the Elias Sports Bureau.
Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter exited with a bruised left hand after being hit by a pitch from Dellin Betances in the ninth. He is day to day.