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Ellsbury powers Yanks' late charge vs. Blue Jays

Center fielder, who's been hot in August, caps five-run frame with HR

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TORONTO -- Prized offseason acquisition Jacoby Ellsbury has picked the right time to have his best month of the year for the Yankees.

Ellsbury's big August continued Friday, and he helped a surging Yankees team remain in the thick of the playoff race.

The center fielder homered off southpaw Aaron Loup -- the first career long ball he has surrendered to a left-handed batter -- during a five-run seventh inning to propel the Yankees to a 6-3 series-opening victory over the division-rival Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

"First of all, you have to have power and the ability to hit left-handers," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Ellsbury. "Loup is very tough on left-handers, and we have seen that over the last couple years. For him to hit that homer ... that was, obviously, really big."

Now the Yankees are hoping an injured ankle doesn't sideline Ellsbury for an extended period of time.

Ellsbury, who is batting .317/.360/.525 in August after hitting a homer and a triple in New York's victory, jammed his ankle in the top half of the ninth on a play at the plate and gingerly walked off the field after he was ruled safe. The play was eventually overturned on Toronto's challenge, but the run didn't matter, as closer David Robertson -- who entered with two outs in the eighth -- retired all four Blue Jays he faced to earn his 35th save of the season.

With a 2-for-5 effort against Toronto, Ellsbury recorded his team-leading 43rd multihit game. His 16 RBIs and nine stolen bases in August are the most he has in any month, while the five homers he has hit match a monthly high this season.

The speedy outfielder has been a major spark plug for the Yankees, who improved to 23-16 since the All-Star break.

"His ankle is sore," Girardi said. "He hurt his ankle. I'm not sure what he's going to be for us [Saturday]. I can't tell you that he's going to play. It's frustrating because he's playing so well. We'll have to wait and see."

The Yankees' bats were silenced by Toronto starter Mark Buehrle for much of the contest before a late-game eruption quieted the crowd of 43,318. The Yanks, who entered Friday's contest three games back for the second American League Wild Card, kept pace with the Tigers and Mariners.

With two on and none out in the seventh, Brett Gardner brought home Brian McCann with a double that one-hopped the wall in right, and a throwing error by second baseman Steve Tolleson on the play allowed Carlos Beltran to score, giving New York a 2-1 lead.

Another throwing error later in the frame on a pickoff attempt by Toronto catcher Dioner Navarro allowed Gardner to score and make it a 3-1 game.

Ellsbury then delivered the final blow of the inning once Buehrle exited the contest. The 30-year-old turned on a 1-1 offering from Loup and deposited it over the fence in right field to put the Yankees ahead, 5-1. The two-run homer was Ellsbury's 14th home run of the season and fourth in his last five games. Loup had gone 232 at-bats vs. a left-hander without allowing a homer.

Buehrle was charged with four runs on seven hits over his six-plus innings of work. The lefty, who walked one and struck out four, has won just once in his last 15 starts after beginning the year with a 10-1 record.

The veteran has also lost 11 consecutive decisions to the Yankees and has a career 1-13 record against them.

Derek Jeter, who went 1-for-5 and is playing his final series in Toronto, was surprised to hear how poorly Buehrle has done vs. New York.

"It's not like we're all running to the bat racks because Buehrle is pitching," the shortstop said. "He's got great stuff and he's a competitor. I'm sure he wants the ball when we face him. I think that's just a fluke thing."

Yankees starter Chris Capuano, meanwhile, allowed three runs (two earned) over 6 1/3 innings to collect his first win in seven starts with New York. The left-hander's lone hiccup through the first six innings came with one out in the fourth.

Toronto slugger Jose Bautista crushed a 1-2 pitch into the second deck in left field for his 27th homer of the season to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. It was the third consecutive game Bautista has gone deep, marking the first time he has accomplished the feat since July 1-3, 2011.

Capuano, who snapped a 12-start winless streak, continued to cruise after that until Toronto rallied in the seventh, putting two runs across the board before right-hander Adam Warren retired Edwin Encarnacion with runners on first and second to end the threat.

"I couldn't be prouder to get a win as a Yankee," Capuano said. "It feels really good."

Chase Headley homered in the ninth -- his third with the Yankees and 10th overall this season -- to put New York up, 6-3, and drop Toronto to 7-17 in August.

"We're better hitters than we've been producing as a whole right now, no question about that," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Just have to keep battling every day. I don't have any other answer for you, nobody does. Just keep grinding away. What else are you going to do?"

The Yankees won for the seventh time in their last nine games and improved to 3-2 on their seven-game road trip.

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Tanaka experiences soreness in throwing arm

Yankees consider it a 'minor setback'; pitcher eyes September return

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Tanaka experiences soreness in throwing arm play video for Tanaka experiences soreness in throwing arm

TORONTO -- The injury-riddled Yankees were dealt another blow Friday when Masahiro Tanaka suffered a setback in his rehab after experiencing general soreness in his throwing arm.

Tanaka, who was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in July, said he's not concerned about it, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi is.

"There's obviously concern, but I think we play it out this week to see where we're at," Girardi said. "He's going to continue to play catch and do some exercises that a pitcher would normally do, and we'll go from there.

"We're going to proceed, and it's either going to be he's healthy or he needs surgery."

Tanaka will head to New York on Friday and undergo strengthening exercises at Yankee Stadium over the weekend with the hopes of pitching again in September. The 25-year-old insists he has felt no pain in his elbow, but rather general soreness throughout his entire arm.

Depending on the severity, a UCL tear often times requires surgery, but Tanaka avoided it when the injury was initially diagnosed and instead went the rehab route. He believes the latest setback could simply be a result of not throwing much over the last month.

"I want to be a little bit cautious," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I haven't been throwing for a couple of weeks and then I started throwing again and built up the number of pitches. I think that's the reason there's a little extra bit of soreness."

Tanaka, who threw 49 pitches in a simulated game at Comerica Park on Thursday, was slated for another simulated game on Tuesday, but Girardi said that has been canceled. It's possible Tanaka could throw his next bullpen in a week, Girardi said. The Japanese right-hander, who is 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA over 18 starts, will do some light throwing in the meantime.

While Girardi is concerned about how his pitcher is feeling, he said there are no plans for Tanaka to see any doctors or shut him down. That's because Tanaka hasn't pinpointed an exact location of the soreness and stressed that he hasn't felt any pain.

"When we ask him is there one spot, he does not point to one spot, he just says general soreness," Girardi said. "He wants time to physically catch up a little bit here."

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Ellsbury injures ankle during play at the plate

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TORONTO -- Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury injured his left ankle on a play at the plate in Friday's 6-3 win over the Blue Jays.

Ellsbury, who had his ankle wrapped up and was limping following the contest, had a fluoroscope that came back negative and will be further evaluated Saturday.

Manager Joe Girardi wouldn't speculate on Ellsbury's availability for the rest of the weekend series, but he did sound concerned.

"His ankle is sore," Girardi said. "He hurt his ankle. I'm not sure what he's going to be for us [Saturday]. I can't tell you that he's going to play. It's frustrating because he's playing so well. We'll have to wait and see."

Ellsbury injured the ankle sliding into home plate in the top of the ninth inning. He slid into the leg of Toronto catcher Dioner Navarro and was visibly hurt before gingerly walking off the field on his own power. He was originally ruled safe before the call was overturned on a Blue Jays challenge.

The 30-year-old Ellsbury hit his 14th homer and tripled in the victory, recording his team-leading 43rd multihit game of the season.

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Play at home in Toronto gets pair of reviews

Ellsbury out after call overturned, then replay confirms Rule 7.13 wasn't violated

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Play at home in Toronto gets pair of reviews play video for Play at home in Toronto gets pair of reviews

TORONTO -- John Gibbons saved the Blue Jays a run with his challenge during the ninth inning of Friday night's 6-3 loss to the Yankees at Rogers Centre.

The incident occurred with nobody out and a runner on third base. Derek Jeter hit a slow chopper to third and infielder Danny Valencia attempted to get Jacoby Ellsbury, who had reached third on a triple, at the plate.

Valencia's throw to home was a little high, but catcher Dioner Navarro was able to get the tag down. Home-plate umpire Mike Everitt didn't think the tag was applied in time and ruled Ellsbury safe at the plate.

Gibbons challenged the call, and the ruling on the field was overturned. That prompted Yankees manager Joe Girardi to formally request the umpires to review whether Navarro had been blocking the plate.

Crew chief Bill Miller agreed, and they went back to the replay for a second time. Following another review, it was confirmed that Navarro was not in violation of 7.13, which states the catcher must provide a clear lane for the runner.

Girardi disagreed with that assessment, as he felt Navarro's foot was blocking Ellsbury's path to the plate. Girardi said after the game that Major League Baseball is trying to protect catchers, but by doing so there is still some lingering confusion about what the rule entails.

"It has been one of my points of contention of this rule -- when a guy is running basically down the baseline, a straight line, if the guy's foot is on the line, that's blocking the plate," Girardi said. "Everything is here to protect the players and catchers, and I'm all for it. But in that situation, he has no place to slide.

"You are asking him to deviate from his path and maybe slide with his hand. If he gets his hand stepped on, that could be the rest of the year."

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Yankees DFA Hill to make room for Outman

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Yankees DFA Hill to make room for Outman play video for Yankees DFA Hill to make room for Outman

TORONTO -- Left-hander Rich Hill was designated for assignment by the Yankees on Friday to make room for fellow southpaw Josh Outman on the active roster. The Yankees acquired Outman from the Indians on Thursday in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations.

Hill, in his 10th big league season, allowed no runs over six appearances with the Yankees after signing in July following a stint with the Angels.

Outman had a 3.28 ERA in 31 games with Cleveland. He will be tasked with getting left-handed hitters out, New York manager Joe Girardi said.

"He's a left-handed specialist who has had success," Girardi said. "You look at his numbers versus lefties in Cleveland this year, and it wasn't too bad. He'll get an opportunity to help us."

Outman has held lefties to a .180/.293/.380 batting line this year, and he has enjoyed similar success against lefty hitters over the course of his six Major League seasons.

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Formidable Pineda plans to deliver vs. Jays

Righty has posted 1.95 ERA this year; Hutchison starts for Toronto

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Formidable Pineda plans to deliver vs. Jays play video for Formidable Pineda plans to deliver vs. Jays

In the wake of bad news regarding the rehabbing Masahiro Tanaka's arm soreness, the Yankees will press onward by turning to Michael Pineda, who aims to help New York continue a tear that has seen the Bronx Bombers win seven of their past nine games.

The Yanks are chasing the Mariners and Tigers for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Pineda puts his 1.95 ERA on the line opposite Blue Jays hurler Drew Hutchison on Saturday at Rogers Centre. If this starts goes anything like Pineda's six strong innings against Toronto on April 5, his recent tear will likely continue.

The right-hander has compiled a 2.08 ERA with a walk and 12 strikeouts in three starts since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 13. Pineda held the contending Royals to one earned run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings on Monday.

"He could do pretty much whatever he wanted with the baseball," catcher Brian McCann said. "He's got so much cut on his fastball that I feel like he could throw that literally every pitch and be very successful, and to add in a wipe-out slider and a really good changeup -- when he's on, he's tough."

Hutchison is tasked with giving his club a chance against Pineda, and to do that he has to turn things around after struggling since mid-July. He has recorded a 6.60 ERA and only three quality starts in eight outings since July 12.

One of those quality starts came in Hutchison's last outing, as he gave up only one run in six innings against the Rays on Sunday. Despite his run of bad outings, Hutchison has given up one earned run or fewer in three of his past four starts at Rogers Centre.

His history with New York, however, is not cause for optimism. He is 2-3 with a 5.81 ERA in five career starts against the Yankees. But on July 26 at Yankee Stadium, Hutchison limited the Yanks to two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings.

Blue Jays: Melk man delivers vs. old club
An 0-for-4 showing on Friday night against the Yankees did not do much to tarnish Melky Cabrera's stats against his former team. He is batting .315 (17-for-54) with four doubles, four homers and 10 RBIs in 13 games against New York in 2014.

Cabrera has hit safely in 25 of 28 games against the Yankees since his time in pinstripes came to a close, batting .313 (36-for-115) with nine doubles, a triple and seven homers. Perhaps he can use some of that magic to snap out of his current 7-for-39 slump.

Yankees: Robertson climbing franchise charts
David Robertson has thrived since taking over the closer's role from Mariano Rivera this year, converting his 35th save in 38 chances on Friday night. He is only the sixth Yankee to record at least 35 saves in a single season.

Although Rivera's franchise record of 53 appears safe this year, five more saves would make Robertson only the fifth Yankee with 40 or more saves in a season. New York's record for most saves by someone other than Rivera is Dave Righetti's 46 in 1986.

Worth noting
• The Blue Jays suffered their 100th loss to the Yankees in Rogers Centre on Friday night, dropping their record against New York in the ballpark to 95-100.

• The Yankees pace the Majors with a 42-28 record in games decided by two runs or fewer in 2014.

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Jeter expresses love for the city of Toronto

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TORONTO -- Derek Jeter's farewell tour continued Friday when the Yankees made their final visit of the 2014 regular season to Toronto, marking the last time the shortstop will play at Rogers Centre.

Rogers Centre is the first of four American League East parks that Jeter will bid goodbye to in the coming weeks, as the Yankees still have road games remaining against the Rays, Orioles and Red Sox in September.

Jeter has enjoyed plenty of success north of the border, entering Friday's contest with the most hits (163), runs scored (91), and games played (130) at Rogers Centre by any visiting player.

"I love the city of Toronto," Jeter said before a large media scrum ahead of Friday's game. "This team's given us fits throughout the years, especially here."

When Jeter was asked if there was a memorable moment that sticks out over the 20 years he's played in Toronto, he referenced a play which cost him six weeks in 2003.

"The first thing I think about is dislocating my shoulder at third base," Jeter said. "I don't know if that's a good thing, but I've always enjoyed coming to Toronto."

It was Opening Day 2003 when Jeter slid headfirst into third base and Toronto catcher Ken Huckaby crushed his shoulder on the play. Jeter attempted to go first to third on an infield grounder and Huckaby collided with him as he raced to cover an unoccupied third base. The shortstop was down in agony and out until the middle of May with a dislocated left shoulder.

But Jeter didn't dwell on the infamous moment Friday, focusing instead on his team's chances of staying in the playoff hunt and fielding questions on his upcoming retirement.

Jeter was also very appreciative of Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen, who showered him with praise earlier in the week, saying fans come to the ballpark to see the Yankees great.

"Any time you have guys you play against that say nice things about you, it makes you feel good," Jeter said. "I've always tried to be respectful of everyone I played against. For someone to say kind things, especially someone that's competing against you, I appreciate it.

"This year I've heard a lot of great things from opposing players."

Jeter, who entered the weekend series in Toronto with a .304/.367/.427 career batting line at Rogers Centre, received a standing ovation in his first at-bat Friday.

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Bullpen falters as Yankees drop finale in Detroit

Kelley allows game-winning hit in ninth after Kuroda's strong effort

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Bullpen falters as Yankees drop finale in Detroit play video for Bullpen falters as Yankees drop finale in Detroit

DETROIT -- The final pitch of the afternoon was a hanging slider that was destined to drive in the winning run, and Shawn Kelley immediately slammed his glove into the infield grass, allowing the terrible feeling to slump his shoulders.

If Kelley had turned around, he would have seen Ichiro Suzuki's valiant effort to track Alex Avila's deep drive through the shadows, but the tell-tale thump of ball against padded wall sealed the Yankees' 3-2 loss to the Tigers on Thursday at Comerica Park. The setback bumped the Yankees three games behind the Tigers and Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot.

"I didn't watch. I just put my head down and walked off the field," Kelley said. "It would've been a nice surprise if he would've [caught it], but I assumed it was a homer."

Avila's hit counted only as a single, but it was enough to doom the Yankees to their second loss of the three-game series, a final head-to-head showdown with the Detroit that they viewed as crucial for their postseason hopes.

"It's definitely not what we wanted, but our guys played extremely hard this series, and we've got to go continue on to Toronto," manager Joe Girardi said.

Kelley entered after Hiroki Kuroda provided another consistent outing, holding the Tigers to two runs over seven innings. Dellin Betances pitched a scoreless eighth, but Kelley was in immediate trouble as Victor Martinez opened the ninth by doubling on a hanging breaking ball.

After a full-count walk to J.D. Martinez, Kelley rebounded to strike out both Alex Castellanos and pinch-hitter Torii Hunter, but Avila barreled the first pitch he saw to deliver a walk-off win in front of a sellout crowd of 42,647.

"It was right over my head. I ran back and the ball hit the fence," Ichiro said through an interpreter. "It's a do-or-die play. I just went to where I thought the ball was going to be."

"You're watching, but you're not really sure," Avila said. "When I hit it, I thought it had a chance to drive the run in, but Ichiro came pretty close."

After producing an eight-run inning on Wednesday against David Price, New York managed just two runs and four hits in six innings against rookie left-hander Kyle Lobstein, who was making his first Major League start and second appearance.

"From the game that I saw, we swung the bats better than we did yesterday," Girardi said. "We just hit balls at people. That's unfortunate."

Zelous Wheeler reached on a slow third-inning grounder that was thrown away by the third baseman Castellanos, setting up Jacoby Ellsbury's RBI single to knot the game at 1. The Yankees center fielder continues to swing a hot bat, hitting .462 (18-for-39) over his last 10 games.

New York punched another run through against Lobstein in the fourth inning. Martin Prado singled, advanced to third base on a Carlos Beltran double and scored on Brian McCann's groundout. Lobstein slammed the door there, walking one and striking out none.

"It's a close race and they're trying to win every game," Lobstein said. "I understood that, but at the same time, I've just got to go out there and treat it as any other day."

The Yankees are not looking for silver linings at this time of year, but at least Kuroda seems to be showing no signs of the second-half swoon that derailed his 2013 season. The right-hander wrapped up his August with a 3.22 ERA in five starts.

"The biggest thing that I concentrate on a day I pitch, I want to make sure that the team wins," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "Because that did not happen, it was not a good day for me."

Avila knocked in Castellanos with a second-inning sac fly and after the Yankees scored single runs in the third and fourth to take the lead, the Tigers tied the game in the fifth as Don Kelly walked, advanced on a wild pitch and came home to score on Rajai Davis' single to right field.

The Yankees threatened to retake the lead in the ninth, but were silenced by two former Bombers. Mark Teixeira worked a two-out walk against Joba Chamberlain before the Tigers called on Phil Coke, who surrendered a single to Beltran that placed runners at the corners.

McCann got a meaty fastball and launched a deep drive down the right-field line that had Coke arcing his neck at the back of the mound, but the ball sailed a few rows foul.

"I did [think it was a homer]. It just kept going," McCann said. "I don't know if the wind took it or what. It would have been nice if it stayed fair, but it didn't."

Coke came back to gas McCann with two 95-mph fastballs for the strikeout.

"We just have to battle," McCann said. "Kuroda pitched an unbelievable game, again. We hit a lot of balls hard today. The ball was hanging up in the gaps; I thought we had three or four doubles that got caught. That's just the way it goes. We'll move on and get ready for Toronto."

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{"content":["jeter_farewell" ] }

Jeter focused on playoff race after Motown farewell

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DETROIT -- They stood, a crowd of 42,647 strong, as Derek Jeter stepped into the batter's box on Thursday for his final regular-season at-bat in the state of Michigan. Joba Chamberlain stepped off the mound, permitting those cheers a few extra moments of life.

It was a snapshot moment for the Yankees' captain, but spoiled by the fact that Jeter grounded out on the sixth pitch of the at-bat, then walked off the diamond in the next half-inning as Alex Avila's RBI single gave the Tigers a 3-2 victory at Comerica Park.

The loss bumped the Yankees three games behind the Tigers and Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot. A dark October was never on Jeter's agenda, and the 40-year-old continues to have faith that the Yankees can win the necessary games to participate in the postseason.

"When you play the teams that are ahead of you, you don't have to look at the scoreboard," Jeter said. "We play our division, so we need to have the approach that we have to win every day. What do we have, 30 games left? You can't sit around and look at the scoreboard. It's in our own hands, so we need to win."

The loss also moved the Yankees 6 1/2 games behind the Orioles in the AL East, although Jeter said that he has not given up hope of catching Baltimore.

"It's always the goal, you know what I mean?" Jeter said. "Until something else happens and you have to alter your goals, that's the goal. But once again, we play our division, so if we win our games we'll be fine. I don't ever think you set your sights on something less than you can accomplish, so our goal is to win games. We need to win tomorrow."

{"content":["jeter_farewell" ] }

Yankees acquire lefty specialist Outman from Indians

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Yankees acquire lefty specialist Outman from Indians play video for Yankees acquire lefty specialist Outman from Indians

CHICAGO -- The Yankees added a layer of specialization to their bullpen on Thursday, acquiring left-hander Josh Outman from the Indians in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations.

Outman opened this season as a member of Cleveland's bullpen, but was designated for assignment in June and sent outright to Triple-A Columbus. At both the Major League and Minor League levels, the lefty has performed well against left-handed batters.

Lefties have been an issue overall for the Yankees, whose left-handed relievers (David Huff and Matt Thornton have occupied the bulk of the innings) have combined for a .274 opponents' average against left-handed batters. Outman, who will join New York's Major League staff, has limited lefties to a .188 average across his six-year career in the big leagues.

In 31 games for Cleveland earlier this season, the 29-year-old Outman went 4-0 with a 3.28 ERA in 24 2/3 innings, during which he had 24 strikeouts, 16 walks and a 1.54 ERA. With lefties Marc Rzepczynski, Nick Hagadone and Kyle Crockett in the fold, Outman became the odd-man out and was demoted to Triple-A on June 25.

With Columbus, Outman turned in a 4.43 ERA in 23 games, but he held left-handed hitters to a .189 average in that span. With the Indians, the lefty reliever had a .180 opponents' average (.673 OPS) against left-handed batters, compared to a .295 opponents' average (.927 OPS) against right-handed hitters.

Across 152 career games in the Majors, Outman has turned in a 4.49 ERA with a 1.44 WHIP between stints with the A's, Rockies and Indians. Cleveland originally acquired Outman last offseason in a one-for-one swap with Colorado that sent outfielder Drew Stubbs to the Rockies.

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Yanks bat around off Price with nine consecutive hits

New York sets club record, falls one shy of AL mark in eight-run third

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Yanks bat around off Price with nine consecutive hits play video for Yanks bat around off Price with nine consecutive hits

DETROIT -- The Yankees' hit parade couldn't wait until Labor Day.

New York strung together nine straight hits to begin its eight-run third inning on Wednesday night against the Tigers, chasing former American League Cy Young Award winner David Price from the game in the process.

The Yankees came one hit shy of the AL record for consecutive hits and three hits shy of the Major League mark. The Yankees became the first team since St. Louis last season (against Pittsburgh on Sept. 6) to rack up nine straight hits. The last American League team to do so was Detroit in 1996.

The AL record of 10 consecutive hits the Yankees narrowly missed tying was also set by the Tigers in 1983. New York beat its club record, which was eight straight, set in 1990.

"It builds confidence, you know?" said Jacoby Ellsbury, who started and ended the procession. "You want to be the next guy up, just keep the line moving. Even though we only scored that inning, I thought we still hit some balls hard and still had great ABs the rest of the game."

These weren't the sort of outings Tigers fans envisioned Price having when he joined Detroit at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Price's outing against the Yankees was the second shortest of his career.

The left-hander became the first pitcher to allow nine straight hits since Houston's Bob Forsch did it against Cincinnati in 1989.

Price exited the game without an out recorded in the third and was charged with eight earned runs. Only three previous times in Major League history had a pitcher allowed 12 hits in two innings or fewer, like Price did Wednesday night.

The others were the Cubs' Shawn Estes (two innings) in 2003, the Dodgers' Johnny Podres (1 2/3 innings) in 1963 and the Tigers George Uhle (two innings) in 1929.

As poorly as the night went for Price, he said he never once thought he simply didn't have his solid stuff Wednesday.

"That was never a thought that crossed my mind," Price said. "That thought would never go through my head. As soon as [Tigers manager Brad Ausmus] pulled me out of the game, I had time to reflect on what happened. But out there on the field, that never crosses my mind.

"I let the team down, and that's the worst thing."

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{"content":["injury" ,"jeter_farewell" ] }

Tanaka uses entire repertoire in simulated game

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Tanaka uses entire repertoire in simulated game play video for Tanaka uses entire repertoire in simulated game

DETROIT -- The catcher's glove popped with good velocity as Masahiro Tanaka worked off the mound on a sunny Thursday morning at Comerica Park, and while the hurler's stuff showed some rust, the Yankees came away with excitement about what might be around the corner.

Tanaka threw 49 pitches in a three-inning simulated game, using his full repertoire to Brendan Ryan, who rode the early bus and batted from both sides of the plate. Ryan said that he thinks the rehabbing right-hander looks close to big league ready.

"The pinpoint [command] is probably going to be the last thing to come. I would expect that to be there pretty soon," Ryan said. "He can go out there and get outs now, just on stuff alone. The sooner the better. I'd say it was a pretty good day."

Tanaka said that he has been feeling only normal soreness, another good sign as he attempts to avoid Tommy John surgery. He expressed dissatisfaction with some of his pitches, having thrown his slider, splitter, curveball and both fastballs in the session.

"I think some of the balls I am throwing, I'm still not able to hit my spots," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "The rust is still there, so I still have some work to do to get back to game-ready."

The Yankees are bringing Tanaka along with the hopes of having him make starts in September, and manager Joe Girardi said that Tanaka will need at least two more sessions against hitters before that can happen. The Yankees want to build Tanaka to at least 75 pitches.

"You have an idea that it's possible that he could come back at some point here," Girardi said.

Ryan made some solid contact, lining a couple of balls to center field and one to deep right-center, but he was also late on many of Tanaka's pitches.

Tanaka said that he is throwing his trademark splitter "worry-free," and the Yankees have been watching Tanaka's facial expressions closely to see if he is masking discomfort.

"I didn't see him favoring anything, and that's a good sign," Girardi said.

Ryan also came away encouraged. He said that from his end, some of Tanaka's splitters "were so dirty you just forget to swing."

"It feels like the velocity is there; some of them are a little bit up, but that speaks to being off for a while," Ryan said. "I don't expect him to be pinpoint or anything like that. It's just nice to see him throwing without any pain."

{"content":["injury" ,"jeter_farewell" ] }
{"content":["jeter_farewell" ] }

Baseball will miss Jeter's class, humility most

Retiring shortstop, Michigander, honored in pregame ceremony in Detroit

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Baseball will miss Jeter's class, humility most play video for Baseball will miss Jeter's class, humility most

DETROIT -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked Wednesday who would take over the leadership role with his club next season after Derek Jeter has retired.

The larger question would be: Who is going to take Jeter's place as baseball's primary role model, as the game's unofficial but leading ambassador to the rest of humanity?

Another ritual in the march of Jeter's final season occurred Wednesday night at Comerica Park as the Detroit Tigers honored Jeter. There have been standing ovations and tributes and gifts at every stop on the road for Jeter this season, and deservedly so.

This one may have had more emotional content for Jeter since his family moved to Michigan from New Jersey when he was 4 years old. Jeter grew up in Kalamazoo. Thus, he is, as they say here, "a Michigander."

Girardi, by the way, said that the leadership question was one for next year and that right now he was very busy trying to manage the Yanks into the postseason. Retirement honors aside, Jeter was an integral part of their playoff push Wednesday night.

In the second inning, Jeter ranged far to his left, snagging a grounder up the middle by Nick Castellanos. Then he finished the classic play, spinning behind second base and throwing a strike to first for the out.

In the top of the third, Jeter delivered an RBI double for the Yankees' first run of the game. Nine straight Yanks hit safely against David Price, which seemed a bit on the miraculous side. As the 11th hitter in the inning, Jeter delivered another RBI with a sacrifice fly to center. The Yankees, with eight runs in the third, went on to an 8-4 victory.

As much as any player in the contemporary game, Jeter has the respect and admiration of the opposition. And why not?

"He has played on the brightest stage in baseball for basically two decades and has represented the game of baseball probably as well as almost anyone who has ever played the game, in the history of the game," said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. "And he's as classy a guy and as tough a competitor as I have ever seen. He deserves all the praise that he's getting.

"He's been the single classiest act in the game the last two decades, as well as a tremendous clutch performer. Early in his career, people would say: 'Oh, if Derek Jeter played in Milwaukee, he wouldn't be that good.' That's a farce. This guy's a baseball player through and through. He plays the game the right way. He's never stopped playing the game the right way. He's a winner's winner."

All the records, all the achievements, the five World Series championships, are there to be admired.

"It's way bigger than that," Price said of Jeter's accomplishments. "It's about the way he's carried himself."

There are countless stories of young players being treated with respect by Jeter, an interaction that invariably gave the young player a feeling of acceptance and belonging. This kind of thing was no accident.

"I have always tried to treat people with respect, because I want to be treated with respect," Jeter said. "When I came up, I was never treated like a rookie. I was on a team that was going to the World Series for the first time in quite some time. People knew that I had a responsibility and therefore, they treated me as an equal. I've always tried to treat people the same way.

"When you meet people, at times you can forget what they say, but I don't think you ever forget how they make you feel. So I've always tried to make people as comfortable as possible."

In the pregame ceremony honoring Jeter, the Tigers presented him with a $5,000 check to his charity, the Turn 2 Foundation. He received two seats from old Tiger Stadium and Tigers president/CEO/general manager Dave Dombrowski unveiled paintings, representing three stages of Jeter's baseball career in Michigan; in high school, playing at Tiger Stadium and playing at Comerica Park.

Hall of Famer Al Kaline and Tigers legend Willie Horton were on hand, letting you know that this was a high-priority event for the Detroit organization. Jeter's high school coach, his parents and his sister were all in attendance.

"I thought it was very nice that [the Tigers] involved my family and our leadership program from Kalamazoo," Jeter said of the ceremony. "We appreciate it a lot. It was a class act by a class organization. Our foundation means a lot to us, and for them to include it meant a lot to us."

After this season, it won't be just the Yankees missing Derek Jeter. It will be all of baseball.

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Detroit sock city: Yanks hammer Price, gain in WC race

Nine straight hits in third help NY get within 2 1/2 games of Seattle

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Detroit sock city: Yanks hammer Price, gain in WC race play video for Detroit sock city: Yanks hammer Price, gain in WC race

DETROIT -- The Yankees have been talking about the importance of seeing quality at-bats throughout their order, one through nine, over this winning week. In one memorable inning Wednesday night at Comerica Park, every hitter in the lineup delivered on that promise.

Taking their swings at the record books, nine straight Yankees stroked hits off David Price to produce eight third-inning runs, powering an 8-4 win over the Tigers that moved New York within 2 1/2 games of Seattle for the second American League Wild Card spot.

"It's a great feeling. It takes the pressure off the offense. It takes it off the pitcher," said Jacoby Ellsbury, who started the big frame with a single. "Obviously, it's the difference in the game, but that's nice when you can string hits together like that. Good things will happen, and you're going to score some runs when that happens."

The Yankees, who also pulled within six games of the Orioles in the AL East race, have seen plenty of Price over the years -- but never like this. Seven different players drove in runs as the Yankees became the first AL team since Detroit in 1996 to collect nine straight hits in an inning.

"It's fun, but you don't see that very often," Derek Jeter said. "We had some good at-bats. We were lucky we found some holes; that's why you play the games. Price is as good as anyone in baseball, so we were fortunate, but we needed it."

Price called it "probably the worst game I've ever had in my life," marked by the most consecutive hits in a big league inning since the Cardinals had nine straight last Sept. 6 against the Pirates. The Major League record is 12, set by the 1920 Cardinals and equaled by the 1930 Brooklyn Robins.

"It's surprising to get three or four hits against him over the first couple of innings, to be honest, as good as he is," Brett Gardner said. "We just had some things go our way. Some balls fall; some guys swinging the bats well. It was a big inning for us."

Shane Greene gladly accepted the run support, defeating the Tigers for the second time in three weeks. The rookie right-hander limited the Tigers to two runs and five hits over seven innings, striking out eight.

"Sometimes you think, 'Hurry up, I want to get back out there,'" Greene said. "But it's nice when a team can go out there and put up runs like that."

Greene also defeated Detroit in a 1-0 decision on Aug. 7 in New York, but didn't have to sweat quite so much this time. Detroit chipped away with late runs off Adam Warren and Dellin Betances as manager Joe Girardi deployed his bullpen to secure a victory that the Yankees desperately wanted to lock down.

Price hadn't allowed nine hits in any of his last 10 starts, but there were warning signs for a rough night ahead as he needed 43 pitches to navigate the first two innings. Jeter had two RBIs in the third inning, starting the damage with a run-scoring double to right field.

The Yankees stayed on Price's pitches as Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann followed with three consecutive RBI hits, sparking an inning the likes of which Girardi guessed he'd seen "maybe in a Little League game."

"Sometimes it just happens; the game doesn't always make sense when it happens," Girardi said. "He's as good as it gets, but we were able to hit some balls in the holes and it worked out."

Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli also collected run-scoring singles before Tigers manager Brad Ausmus finally claimed the ball from Price, who recorded no swings and misses in the inning.

"It just reached a point where he was running out of steam and even the balls that weren't hit well were finding holes," Ausmus said.

Blaine Hardy recorded the first out on an Ellsbury sacrifice fly, and Jeter lifted a sac fly to push home the eighth run charged to Price.

"It's tough to get that many hits, even if the guys hit the balls on the screws," Ellsbury said. "Fortunately we got some good swings on balls and some balls fell for us."

Gardner said that the Yankees didn't realize they'd knocked nine straight hits until later, when some pitchers watching the TV broadcast wandered into the dugout to spread the word. The Yankees, who had a five-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday, used that cushion to avoid falling into a skid.

New York's bats were quiet the rest of the way, as Detroit's bullpen reeled off seven scoreless innings, but the Tigers managed only Miguel Cabrera's fourth-inning RBI double and Victor Martinez's sixth-inning solo homer off Greene; the Yankees have won each of Greene's last five starts.

"It's important. We're talking about winning series, but the other thing is who we're playing," Girardi said. "This is one of the teams in front of us. It's the last time we see them and the only chance to make up ground that we can rely on ourselves, so we need to win."

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Tanaka to throw 45 pitches in simulated game

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Tanaka to throw 45 pitches in simulated game play video for Tanaka to throw 45 pitches in simulated game

DETROIT -- Masahiro Tanaka's next hurdle will come in the form of three simulated innings off the mound at Comerica Park on Thursday morning, and if he gets through that session with no issues, the right-hander's return will seem much more plausible.

Manager Joe Girardi said that Tanaka is scheduled to throw about 45 pitches in the simulated game, and he could be two sessions away from a big league return; the team would need Tanaka to build his stamina to the area of 75-90 pitches before deeming him ready.

"You obviously feel better that it's going to happen, but I still talk about the intensity of a Major League game compared to a Minor League game or a simulated game," Girardi said. "Those are the hurdles that you have to go through."

It is likely that the Yankees would need to create Tanaka's next outing, as the Minor League schedule ends on Monday and only Class A Advanced Tampa is within striking distance of seeing playoff action. Girardi said that he is remaining cautiously optimistic as Tanaka aims to avoid Tommy John surgery.

"As long as you're having steps in the right direction, it's working," Girardi said. "That doesn't mean that it's a guarantee. If you have a setback, it probably means surgery. It's not like rehabbing a hamstring or something like that, where you can have a setback and, 'OK, we've got to sit him down.' If it doesn't work, it doesn't work."

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Ellsbury not attributing hot streak to leading off

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Ellsbury not attributing hot streak to leading off play video for Ellsbury not attributing hot streak to leading off

DETROIT -- Jacoby Ellsbury has found one of his best hot streaks of the season, but the Yankees' center fielder won't connect the dots between those good recent swings and a return to the leadoff spot.

With Brett Gardner hobbled by a sore right ankle, Ellsbury batted leadoff for the fourth time in five games on Wednesday, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored in the Yankees' 8-4 win over the Tigers. He is enjoying a 17-for-38 (.447) tear.

"He's done a good job there, and there was never a question what kind of job he would do in that spot," manager Joe Girardi said. "Gardy did a great job. It was just, I put him there because Gardy was hurt, and he's done a good job."

Ellsbury, who entered Wednesday having hit three homers in the Yankees' prior two games, said that he was also feeling comfortable hitting third and hasn't felt much different since coming back to the top of the lineup.

"I think that first at-bat may be the only one, trying to see how the pitcher throws that day, see what he has," Ellsbury said. "But after that first one, as the leadoff hitter, you're kind of in the flow of the game. It doesn't really affect you."

"He's a great player that's going to have really good streaks," Girardi said. "You could say since I put him in the leadoff spot he's hitting for more power. It's a small sample, so I don't make too much of it."

Gardner returned to New York's lineup on Wednesday, batting eighth, and went 1-for-4 with a run scored.

"I was happy with the way it felt," Gardner said. "Obviously there's still a little discomfort, but I felt pretty close to full speed, so I was happy with it."

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Tigers keep it local in honoring retiring Jeter

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Tigers keep it local in honoring retiring Jeter play video for Tigers keep it local in honoring retiring Jeter

DETROIT -- Derek Jeter hates the term "farewell tour."

"You say 'tour,' it's like you're just going around shaking hands and kissing babies," Jeter said Tuesday.

Whatever the fitting name for Jeter's final season, it received a shot of poignancy Wednesday night as he was honored in a pregame ceremony at Comerica Park in his home state of Michigan.

A video tribute highlighted his high school baseball career at Kalamazoo Central -- just over two hours from Detroit. Jeter said Tuesday that he still feels close ties to Michigan, even though he was born in New Jersey.

"I grew up in Michigan," he said. "I've always told people I'm from Michigan."

The tribute allowed Jeter to close out his trips to Detroit on a high note. Tuesday, he spoke of the disappointment that came with his demotion from the Yankees in 1995, just before the club was scheduled to make a trip to Tiger Stadium, which would have been Jeter's first time playing in Detroit since high school. He also has been booed loudly, likely because of his team affiliation, in Detroit, until this week, when he was well-received.

A gift to Jeter from the Tigers' organization will ensure he'll always have a piece of that ballpark, though -- he was presented with two Tiger Stadium seats during the ceremony.

Jeter also received a $5,000 donation to his charity, the Turn 2 Foundation.

"I thought it was very nice that they involved my family and our leadership program from Kalamazoo," said Jeter. "We appreciate it a lot. It was a class act by a class organization to include them. Our foundation means a lot to us, and for them to include them, it meant a lot to us."

Joined by two former teammates of Jeter's, Tigers pitchers Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke, Detroit team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski also unveiled a painting portraying Jeter at three stages of his life: his high-school career in Kalamazoo, at Tiger Stadium, and at Comerica Park. The paintings included dirt from all three of those stops.

Tigers legends Willie Horton and Al Kaline also were in attendance for the ceremony, as was Don Zomer, Jeter's high school coach.

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Yanks support ALS research; Girardi takes challenge

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Yanks support ALS research; Girardi takes challenge play video for Yanks support ALS research; Girardi takes challenge

DETROIT -- The Yankees announced on Wednesday that they have pledged $100,000 to the ALS Association, in recognition of those who bravely live with ALS, those who have passed away from the condition and those around the world who have taken part in the Ice Bucket Challenge in an effort to raise awareness and funding to find a cure.

In support of the Yankees' donation, manager Joe Girardi participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge on Wednesday afternoon. Girardi said that he lost an uncle to ALS -- also known as Lou Gehrig's disease -- in April of this year.

"Obviously, it's been on my mind," Girardi said.

In his video, Girardi invited Patrick Quinn of Westchester, N.Y., and Anthony Senerchia of Pelham, N.Y., to be the team's guests for a future Yankees home game. Quinn and Senerchia were among the first to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Girardi also challenged this year's Monument Park inductees to take the challenge; Goose Gossage, Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill and Joe Torre. Torre participated recently in a group event outside MLB's New York offices, helping raise $16,700 for ALS research.

"I think this is a really good thing that's been started here and is bringing a lot of attention to ALS," Girardi said. "It's a horrific disease in what it does to people. Hopefully all these things that people are doing to raise money finds a cure."

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Yanks add veteran outfielder Young on Minors deal

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Yanks add veteran outfielder Young on Minors deal play video for Yanks add veteran outfielder Young on Minors deal

DETROIT -- The Yankees have signed outfielder Chris Young to a Minor League contract, general manager Brian Cashman confirmed on Wednesday.

Young, 30, was released by the Mets last week after hitting just .205 with eight homers and a .630 OPS in 88 games. Young had signed a one-year, $7.25 million deal with the Mets and could see time with the Yankees after rosters expand in September.

"Obviously it's a guy that's had some success in his career," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's a very good outfielder, it's a guy who can hit the ball out of the ballpark. We're going to see what we have."

The Yankees currently have three left-handed-hitting outfielders on the roster in Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki. Young, who has also seen big league time with the D-backs and Athletics over the last nine seasons, has not played since Aug. 7.

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McCarthy battles, but Yankees' win streak snapped

Tigers score five runs off righty in series opener; Ellsbury homers twice

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McCarthy battles, but Yankees' win streak snapped play video for McCarthy battles, but Yankees' win streak snapped

DETROIT -- The Yankees used Brandon McCarthy's most dominant outing in pinstripes as a springboard to a five-game winning streak, one that resuscitated their flagging postseason dreams. Eyeing this series as crucial to that cause, they now must get on a new roll.

McCarthy has been splendid since arriving in a midseason trade, but he picked a bad time to feel out of sync for most of the night. The Tigers took advantage by peppering him for nine hits over 6 1/3 innings and the Yankees were defeated, 5-2, on Tuesday night at Comerica Park.

"I've thrown well enough to get through outings where I haven't been as sharp, and today, that's the disappointment," McCarthy said. "I'd like to be able to fight back. You know days like this you're going to give up some runs, especially against a good team like that. You'd like to be able to limit it a little bit more."

The loss, which followed a rain delay of more than an hour, prevented the Yankees from moving eight games over .500 for the first time this season. New York now sits 3 1/2 games back of Seattle in the race for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Rick Porcello exacted some measure of revenge after winding up on the wrong end of a 1-0 duel earlier this month in the Bronx. In front of a sellout crowd of 40,488, Porcello scattered nine hits over eight innings to log his career-high 15th victory.

Jacoby Ellsbury celebrated his fifth career multi-homer game to account for the Yankees' scoring off Porcello, clearing the fences in the fifth and eighth innings. With three hits, Ellsbury improved to 11-for-17 (.647) with a double and four homers lifetime off Porcello.

"I can't really explain it," Ellsbury said. "I mean, I guess I got a couple of pitches I could hit, and I didn't miss them."

The sinkerballer otherwise was able to keep the ball down, as Porcello recorded 14 groundouts against four flyouts.

"I felt good with my fastball. Overall, I felt pretty good," Porcello said. "It was a great atmosphere tonight. A lot of excitement."

J.D. Martinez paced Detroit's offense with three hits, two runs scored and an RBI as McCarthy followed an Aug. 21 shutout over the Astros by surrendering five earned runs, his highest total since being acquired by the Yankees in a July 6 trade.

"It didn't look like he had great command with the sinker," manager Joe Girardi said. "At times he did, but it looked like he left some up, and they hit it. I actually thought he pitched better than maybe the numbers indicated, but they got to him a little bit."

McCarthy's command was lacking early, and the right-hander was searching for answers in the second inning, as he allowed a hit, two walks and a hit-by-pitch in the second inning, forcing in a run with a free pass to Rajai Davis.

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild visited the mound to give McCarthy a breather, coaxing a double-play ball from the hurler. But Martinez added a run-scoring single in the third inning, giving Detroit a two-run lead.

"I just never felt settled in, never felt comfortable, mechanically, there," McCarthy said. "I wasn't sharp right from the get-go. The middle few innings, where I was able to work quickly, it felt like it was getting there, but it just wasn't all the way back. It was just kind of a battle right from the start."

The Tigers added another pair of runs in the sixth as McCarthy surrendered three straight hits: Victor Martinez singled, J.D. Martinez barreled up a double to left and Nick Castellanos punched an RBI single to center field. McCarthy got Alex Avila to hit into a double play that pushed home the fourth Tigers run.

"The middle of their order is as good as it gets, so you can't make mistakes," said catcher Brian McCann, who said that he thought that McCarthy pitched better than his line indicated.

McCarthy's night came to a close in the seventh, as Davis aggressively turned a single into a double on a ground ball to left field and came home to score on a Torii Hunter RBI single.

"Days like that, when there's a little bit of guesswork -- where's this pitch going to end up? -- they happen," McCarthy said. "You just wish they didn't happen against good teams like this."

Joe Nathan retired the side in the ninth for his 28th save, dispatching the Yankees, who have attained a nasty habit of following winning streaks with losing skids this season. A matchup with David Price is set for Wednesday, and given the standings and the late date on the calendar, it is key that they find a way to avoid that trend.

"We've just got to go out there tomorrow, compete and play like we have been," Ellsbury said. "Hopefully we can go on another run, but all we can do is go out there. I think our energy is what has helped us the last six or seven days. We just have to go out there and play the way we have the last six games."

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Gardner feeling better, but sits with bruised ankle

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Gardner feeling better, but sits with bruised ankle play video for Gardner feeling better, but sits with bruised ankle

DETROIT -- Brett Gardner said Tuesday that his bruised right ankle is showing signs of improvement, and the Yankees outfielder is moving closer to returning to the lineup.

Gardner said that he expects to be in the Yankees' lineup on Wednesday, having run for the first time since he sustained the injury on a foul ball on Saturday against the White Sox.

"I don't have any idea how it's going to feel, but I know it feels a whole lot better than it did yesterday," Gardner said before Tuesday's 5-2 Yankees loss.

Gardner hit in the cages for a second consecutive day Tuesday, having also taken swings in Kansas City the night before. He had wanted to run the bases during batting practice Tuesday, but rain forced the Yankees and Tigers to do their hitting in the underground cages at Comerica Park.

"My concern was he said he felt better but he needed to run," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Gardy's pretty tough and Gardy's played through a lot, which made me believe that it's probably not 100 percent, which it might not be for a while.

"This extra day will probably do us some good. My concern is that he favors it or that he gets out there and he can't run, and then I've got to make a change. It can just really mess things up."

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Jeter seeing more time as Yankees' DH

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Jeter seeing more time as Yankees' DH play video for Jeter seeing more time as Yankees' DH

DETROIT -- Derek Jeter has been spending more time as the designated hitter of late, and while the retiring Yankees captain would prefer to be wearing his glove out to shortstop, he has been satisfied with staying in the lineup.

Tuesday marked Jeter's fourth DH assignment of August, coming after he had been asked to DH only four times in the first four months of the season. Jeter points out that though he hasn't done it much during his career, he did serve as the Yanks' DH 25 times in 2012.

"Because of injuries, Carlos [Beltran] had to DH, so I haven't really thought about it," Jeter said. "My job is to come here and when I'm in the lineup, play. I like to play every day. I like to play shortstop every day. Everyone is aware of that, but I get it.

"I understand it. We've had a long stretch here. I think we only have a couple of more days off, and then we have another long stretch at the end of the year."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the lengthy stretches without an off-day, as well as upcoming matchups against left-handed pitching in which Jeter will be expected to play, factored into his thinking.

"We have a lot of lefties coming up the next five days after today, where he's going to play, so try to give him a little blow when I can," Girardi said. "And I thought today was probably a good day. Two plane flights in two days, and as I said, we have day games after night games, so we're going to need him in there a lot."

Jeter's numbers have sagged of late. After batting .277 through the first four months of the season, he entered play on Tuesday batting just .209 (18-for-86) in August, with a .227 on-base percentage and a .267 slugging percentage. Jeter's last extra-base hit was a double on Aug. 11.

Girardi said that he does not believe there are any physical concerns with Jeter, but suggested that Beltran's return to part-time outfield duty may allow the Yankees to have Jeter serve as the DH more often.

"I'm in the mode that I'm just taking it day by day, but with Carlos being able to go into the outfield once in a while, it gives me more flexibility to do this," Girardi said.

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Yankees sending seven to Arizona Fall League

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Yankees sending seven to Arizona Fall League play video for Yankees sending seven to Arizona Fall League

DETROIT -- Seven Yankees prospects have been added to the preliminary rosters for this year's Arizona Fall League, which were released on Tuesday.

Right-handers Caleb Cotham, Branden Pinder and Alex Smith, infielders Greg Bird and Eric Jagielo, and outfielders Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge have all been selected to play this fall with the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Four of the seven players are currently ranked among the club's Top 20 prospects, according to MLB.com: Jagielo (No. 3), Judge (No. 5), Bird (No. 11) and Austin (No. 15). Jagielo and Judge were first-round selections by the Yankees in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

In addition, the Yankees will be sending Class A Advanced Tampa hitting coach P.J. Pilittere to Scottsdale, where he will serve in the same capacity. There is also a roster spot reserved for a Yankees catcher to be announced.

Players from the Yankees, Mets, Phillies, Pirates and Giants organizations will comprise the Scorpions' roster, and the 32-game Arizona Fall League schedule begins on Oct. 7.

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Jeter: 'I've always told people I'm from Michigan'

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Jeter: 'I've always told people I'm from Michigan'

DETROIT -- On a fall Michigan afternoon in 1991, Derek Jeter stood wide-eyed amongst a crowd of greater than 100,000.

In Ann Arbor, at the Big House, Jeter realized there was somewhere else he could envision himself besides the infield dirt at the corner of East 161st and River Avenue in the Bronx. Perhaps at one of the parties he recalls visiting on that recruiting trip to the University of Michigan, he pictured himself as a Michigan Man -- and loved what he saw.

Boyhood dreams are limitless, though, and few have just one. Jeter, then 17, was no different. We all know which iteration of his dream he chose when the Yankees selected him with their sixth pick in the 1992 First-Year Player Draft.

Jeter is in Detroit this week to play his final regular-season series in his home state. Though the ballpark Jeter grew up visiting, like the one he grew up dreaming of playing in in New York, has been demolished within the past few years, visits to Detroit still have special meaning for him.

"I've always enjoyed coming here," Jeter said before Tuesday's game. "It brings back memories of … Tiger Stadium."

Jeter's ties to Michigan didn't end when he signed his pro contract with New York, and he never stopped considering himself a Wolverine. Though he didn't head to Ann Arbor to play for then-Michigan coach Bill Freehan as the plan had called for, he did enroll in the fall of 1992 and took a semester's worth of classes before turning his attention fully to his budding baseball career.

"You weigh pros and cons," Jeter said Tuesday of the decision he had to make. "You weigh the opportunity. … I wanted to get my career underway. This is the team that I wanted to play for. I think I made the right decision."

Jeter grew up in Kalamazoo, Mich., slightly over two hours due west of Detroit. Asked if he considers himself a Michigander, Jeter responded, "Of course."

"People ask where I'm from. I was born in New Jersey but I grew up in Michigan," Jeter said. "I've always told people I'm from Michigan."

The shortstop holds his home in such high regard that his least favorite memory of it didn't even occur in Michigan territory. Shockingly, it isn't either of New York's two American League Division Series losses to the Tigers since 2006.

Instead, it came in 1995, when he barely missed his first chance of playing in Detroit. Jeter was abruptly demoted to Triple-A right before the Yankees departed on the trip.

"There was a lot of family and friends that had to change their plans," Jeter said.

His best memory of baseball in Detroit might still be ahead of him. It could come before Wednesday's game, when he's honored in a pregame ceremony -- likely the first time Tigers fans will treat Jeter like one of their own.

"Sometimes, when I come here, I'm a sellout or I should be playing for the Tigers," Jeter said of Detroit fans' reaction to him over the years. "It wasn't my choice. I was drafted by the Yankees.

"[But] they have a respect, because this is where I grew up."

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Kelley's horse head Yanks' good-luck charm

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Kelley's horse head Yanks' good-luck charm

DETROIT -- The Yankees' newest good-luck charm arrived via special delivery, when Shawn Kelley's travels around the Internet led him to stumble across a frightening rubber horse head. He laughed, then forked over his credit card information.

Placing the horse head atop his uniform, Kelley surprised his teammates last Thursday by sprinting onto the outfield grass for stretch. The bulging eyeballs, the flaring nostrils and furry mane had the Yankees howling, and it all coincided with the start of a five-game winning streak.

"I just thought they were fun," Kelley said. "I just decided to wear it out for stretch that day, and we won that game, so -- you know baseball. I've got to wear it until we don't win anymore."

The purchase that might be helping to turn around the Yankees' season was under $20 plus shipping.

"You've seen those things for a while, popping up in the crowd somewhere," Kelley said. "I actually saw somebody one time on water skis with one on. I always laugh. I think it's funny when I see somebody with a horse head on. I giggle. I thought, 'You know what? I'm going to get one.' Just for fun."

Kelley said that the rubber mask, which the team is calling "Seabiscuit," can get very hot, and that the visibility leaves something to be desired.

"I can't see, that's the only thing," Kelley said. "I have to look out the nostrils and I can't see really good. I just heard everybody giggle. I need like a Go-Pro on it."

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Yanks' streak to five after makeup-game win in KC

Pineda sharp, offense rolls against Shields in victory over Royals

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Yanks' streak to five after makeup-game win in KC play video for Yanks' streak to five after makeup-game win in KC

KANSAS CITY -- Michael Pineda turned his back to home plate in the fifth inning Monday night and gazed out at center field following his fourth strikeout. A few hundred feet away, the Kauffman Stadium CrownVision HD scoreboard provided a replay of Mike Moustakas' solo home run off the Yankees' right-hander, two innings earlier.

Pineda observed this, then turned around, stomped on the mound, and redeemed himself by making Moustakas strikeout victim No. 5.

The Moustakas home run was all Pineda would allow in New York's fifth straight win, an 8-1 triumph over the Royals. The Yankees visited Kansas City to make up a June 9 postponement, and they now head to Detroit to continue a tough stretch that includes 13 games -- and four different cities -- in 13 days.

Baltimore won Monday, so New York remains six games behind the American League East leaders. But Monday's win brought the Yankees to within 2 1/2 games of the Mariners for the second AL Wild card spot.

The Royals managed just five hits in 6 1/3 innings off Pineda, who made his MLB-leading 15th straight start allowing six hits or fewer. Pineda's control and command matched his dazzling repertoire, as he issued zero walks and struck out five. His seventh start this season surrendering two runs or fewer dropped his ERA to 1.95.

"He could do pretty much whatever he wanted with the baseball," catcher Brian McCann said. "He's got so much cut on his fastball that I feel like he could throw that literally every pitch and be very successful, and to add in a wipe-out slider and a really good changeup -- when he's on, he's tough."

In Pineda's previous 10 starts, New York provided 12 runs of support, and at most, four runs in a single game. The Yankees' offense churned out 13 hits and eight runs Monday, backed by home runs from Stephen Drew, Martin Prado and Jacoby Ellsbury and a pair of RBIs by Derek Jeter, playing his final regular-season game at The K.

"We swung the bats extremely well tonight, we got contributions from everyone, up and down the lineup," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Drew broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth, with a home run off Royals starter James Shields. It was his second homer in his last four games and second since joining the Yankees.

New York tacked on four insurance runs in the seventh to claim a 6-1 lead. Prado (2-for-4, double, homer) began the inning with a home run to left, and Ellsbury (3-for-5, three RBIs) and Jeter added RBI singles.

"They found holes. [Shields] made a mistake, I think, on the ball to Prado, and he hit it out. I mean, the score was still manageable, and they just started finding holes," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Ellsbury's hit was the 1,000th of his career, and No. 1,001 came in the top of the ninth on a two-run shot to right.

"It's pretty special. They got the ball for me, that will be in my collection. I guess it just means you've played for a little while," Ellsbury said.

David Huff closed out the game for the Yankees, tossing the last 2 2/3 innings in scoreless fashion. He replaced Pineda in the middle of the seventh inning, when Girardi stuck by the 95-100-pitch limit he instituted for Pineda before the game. After Pineda allowed a one-out double to Salvador Perez, Girardi called on Huff with his starter at a season-high 96 pitches.

"[Pineda] is an aggressive guy, there's no doubt about it, and he kept his pitch count down and did a really good job for us tonight, and he's been real consistent, so I'm happy with what I see," Girardi said.

Pineda appears to be peaking at the ideal time for a Yankees team creeping back into the postseason discussion. 

"Over the course of a long season, you have your ups and downs, and right now, we're on an up," McCann said.

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Royals honor retiring Jeter with gift to foundation

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Royals honor retiring Jeter with gift to foundation play video for Royals honor retiring Jeter with gift to foundation

KANSAS CITY -- Most of the 31,758 in attendance at Kauffman Stadium for the Yankees' 8-1 win Monday night were still present even after the first out of the ninth inning was recorded.

It was an unusual sight with the home team trailing by seven runs, but those in attendance wanted one more opportunity to show appreciation for Derek Jeter in his final regular-season at-bat in Kansas City.

Jeter grounded out to shortstop, but The K sent him off with one final thunderous round of applause anyway as he jogged back to the dugout.

The round of applause even caught Jeter off-guard.

"Maybe a little, I don't ever expect it," said Jeter, who finished 1-for-5 with a pair of RBIs. "But the way fans have treated me pretty much everywhere we've gone this year has been pretty special. I don't expect them to do it, but those are the things I'll take away from each city that I've gone the last time. The fans have been awesome."

Kansas City paid tribute to the Yankees' legendary shortstop before the game.

Royals president Dan Glass and senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager Dayton Moore greeted Jeter between the mound and home plate 10 minutes before first pitch, and presented him with a $10,000 check as a donation to his Turn 2 Foundation.

The Royals also showed a commemorative video on its CrownVision HD scoreboard, featuring some of Jeter's career highlights and complimentary speeches from a number of Royals players.

Kansas City manager Ned Yost raved about the 20-year veteran, who plans on retiring after this season.

"For me, he's the consummate professional, he's the ultimate professional. He's a guy that plays the game to an extremely high degree. It seems to me that it's never changed who he was, he's never forgotten who he was, he's never forgotten where he came from, he's never forgotten this game is played to have fun," Yost said before the game.

Jeter started at shortstop in his 67th game at Kauffman Stadium, where he entered play having posted a .315/.369/.434 slash line in 318 plate appearances.

He received hearty applause in all five of his at-bats. As for the source of the applause, Jeter was split on that after the game.

"There were probably some Yankees fans cheering, maybe some Royals fans that have enjoyed booing me over the years, [and] they're happy to see me go," Jeter said with a laugh.

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Yanks score run after challenge overturns call at plate

Replay shows Ellsbury beats tag of Perez, extending NY rally in KC

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Yanks score run after challenge overturns call at plate play video for Yanks score run after challenge overturns call at plate

KANSAS CITY -- The Yankees won a challenge and gained a run against the Royals on Monday night.

The final run of New York's four-run seventh came on a sacrifice fly by Brian McCann, but that's not initially how it was ruled.

With the Yankees leading, 5-1, and one out and runners on the corners, McCann skied a fly ball to right fielder Lorenzo Cain. Jacoby Ellsbury tagged from third, Cain fired home and home-plate umpire ruled that Royals catcher Salvador Perez tagged out Ellsbury for the third out.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi challenged, and replay officials in New York overturned the call.

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