Since Curtis Granderson strained his groin while rounding the bases two weekends ago — kicking off a chain of injuries that took down 75 percent of the Core Four, plus disabled list regular Nick Johnson — the Yankees haven’t really missed a beat, despite relying on a varying number of reserves each night. Last night, it caught up with them in a 5–4 loss to Detroit.
Sergio Mitre got the spot start, taking Andy Pettitte’s place in the rotation while the lefty rests his elbow, and Mitre pitched about as well as you’d expect him to: four runs (three earned) over four and a third innings. His last pitch? A solo home run by former Yankee Johnny Damon, who, we’re guessing, really enjoyed that trot around the bases.
Not that the Yankees didn’t have chances to score runs themselves, but twice a big at bat fell to should-be reserve Randy Winn — one with the bases loaded and the score 4–2 in the sixth, and another with two men on and the score 5–4 in the eighth — and twice Winn failed to drive anyone in. The pitcher who retired Winn the second time, by the way? That would be Phil Coke, another former Yankee. (For the record, non-sub Derek Jeter also had a chance to tie the game in the eighth and didn’t.) That’s back-to-back losses — matching their longest losing streak of the season, if you choose to look at it that way.