Offense Snoozes and Yankees Drop Game Two

Max Scherzer, Tigers bullpen shut down Yankee bats and even series

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Oct 3, 2011  |  Updated 9:00 AM EDT
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The Yankees couldn't pull off this one.

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It seems the Yankees offense wasn't aware that Sunday ceased to be a travel day when Friday night's game wound up being suspended by rain.

That oversight came back to bite the Bombers in the rear end on Sunday afternoon. The bats were silenced by Max Scherzer, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and the Yankees went down to a meek 5-3 loss to even the ALDS at one game apiece.

The Yankees had one great chance to put some runs on the board when they got their first two hitters aboard to start the seventh inning, causing Jim Leyland to pull Scherzer and go to Joaquin Benoit. Benoit got Russell Martin to fly out, struck out pinch hitter Eric Chavez and got Derek Jeter looking at a strike three that we can only hope the Captain missed because the skies had suddenly opened like something out of disaster film.

The rain went as quickly as it came, but the black cloud hung over the Yankees the rest of the afternoon. The Yankees made it interesting in the ninth with a Nick Swisher homer and Jorge Posada triple (yes, a Jorge Posada triple — do not adjust your sets), but Jose Valverde found enough in reserve to escape.

Days like this will happen to an offense, even one with as much talent as the Yankees have on hand and even in a playoff game against a pitcher of Scherzer's mediocre stock. The disturbing thing for the Yankees is that Alex Rodriguez looks totally lost at the plate through two games, and that will hamper the kind of pitches Robinson Cano sees until he starts looking better.

There were a smattering of boos when Rodriguez popped out in the bottom of the eighth, which was surprising only because Yankee Stadium had had all the energy of a morgue to that point and seemed to be populated by more pigeons than people. But, hey, it's just a playoff game.

Freddy Garcia wasn't awful, but he did run into Miguel Cabrera twice with runners on base. That sealed his doom. Cabrera hit a two-run home run that just poked its way over the right field fence in the first inning — if it were the Mets, there would have been a movement afoot to move the fences back come the morning — and then he singled home a run in the sixth to extend the Tigers' lead to 3-0.

The good news for the Yankees is that they now have CC Sabathia going on Monday in an attempt to stop the bleeding and a well-rested bullpen after mostly avoiding their big arms over the last two days. The Tigers, meanwhile, used Benoit for two innings and saw Valverde throw a ton of pitches to get out of the ninth.

The bad news is that the Tigers have Justin Verlander pitching, and they now own home-field advantage with the next two games in Detroit.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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