How many seemingly innocuous little things can add up to a bitter loss? Let’s count:
• Jim Thome dribbles a ball down the line in the seventh inning and Andy Pettitte slips on wet grass trying to pick it up. He is charged with an error as Thome reaches.
• A.J. Pierzynski grounds to third and Alex Rodriguez lets the ball deflect off his glove. It’s called an error before being charitably being changed to a hit.
• Phil Hughes comes in and gets Carlos Quention to ground into what looks like a sure double play. Except when Robbie Cano tries to turn it with Pierzynski in his face, he has only four fingers on the ball and throws what looks like a wild curveball in the dirt. It skips away from Teixeira, just far enough for a run to score.
• In the ninth, Thome hit a grounder that would have been an out — except that the Yankees were in a defensive shift, so it rolled into center.
• DeWayne Wise, a .185 hitter who into the game as a defensive replacement, wins it with a single up the middle off Phil Coke.
Yikes. It took all that for the Yankees to lose for only the third time in 14 games. Their lead was chopped to 2.5 games. Of course, it didn’t help that they managed only six hits and struck out 14 times against Gavin Floyd and Matt Thronton. Home plate umpire Ted Barrell had a Frank Drebbin strike zone tonight.
No cause for panic, although Sergio Mitre isn’t exactly an ideal stopper tomorrow night. They’ll likely need some offense against Clayton Richard.
But first comes the trade deadline. Stay tuned as we count down the hours until 4 p.m.