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Long confident Yanks will battle out of slump

Long confident Yanks will battle out of slump

ST. PETERSBURG -- The morale level has fallen in the Yankees' dugout during their recent slide, according to hitting coach Kevin Long, who believes that several of the team's players are pressing for results that aren't coming.

"We need to get back to where we're feeling good," Long said. "That was only five or six days ago. These guys are going through a tough time. We're going through a tough time. I only know one way to get out of this, and that's to keep fighting, keep working, keep grinding, and I know the guys in this room will do that."

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New York has managed seven runs during the five-game skid, hitting .173 (28-for-161) overall and .064 (2-for-31) with runners in scoring position. They've struck out 46 times against eight walks.

"You're always going to look down when you don't score runs," manager Joe Girardi said. "That's the nature of the game. Guys are frustrated. I've said that guys are frustrated because they know that they're capable of doing more. We want to play in October, and when you lose, you should be frustrated. You shouldn't just blow it off."

Long said that the Yankees' goal is to be scoring five or six runs a game, which obviously they have not come close to achieving.

"Sometimes the pitching doesn't allow you to do that," Long said. "Sometimes there's days when I feel like we really should, and we don't do it. Against a Corey Kluber [Cleveland] or [the Rays' Alex Cobb], it's understandable that the runs are going to be down.

"Not to throw [Baltimore's] Chris Tillman under the bus, but he didn't have his best stuff [on Aug. 13]. That's a guy where you want to capitalize and take advantage of it. ... Some of those other guys we should be able to get to."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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