Bad luck a factor in Yankees' trend of stranding runners

Alex Rodriguez reacts after hitting into a fielder's Alex Rodriguez reacts after hitting into a fielder's choice during Game 1 of the ALCS. (Oct. 13, 2012) Photo Credit: Thomas A. Ferrara

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The Yankees, who had major trouble scoring runs and getting hits with runners in scoring position in their Division Series win over the Orioles, continued the trend in the first two innings of Game 1 of the ALCS against the Tigers Saturday night.

But it really wasn't their fault.

The Yankees loaded the bases in each of the first two innings but failed to score against righthander Doug Fister. Each time they hit what easily could have been one- or maybe even two-run singles.

In the first, Fister walked Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Raul Ibañez to load the bases with two outs for Alex Rodriguez, who was back in the lineup after a one-game benching.

A-Rod smoked a grounder to the right of shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who grabbed it with a dive and threw to second. Ibañez was out by a whisker to end the inning.

In the second, Russell Martin, Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki hit two-out singles. It was the first time the Yankees had three consecutive hits since the ninth inning of Game 1 of the ALDS.

Slumping Robinson Cano followed with a line drive that was ticketed to centerfield. Except it hit the right wrist of Fister and caromed out to Peralta, who threw to first to get Cano -- according to first-base umpire Rob Drake.

Cano slammed down his helmet. Replays indicated that he should have been called safe and the Yankees should have had a 1-0 lead. Instead, they had another failure with runners in scoring position.

Before the game, manager Joe Girardi was asked if he could pinpoint the reason offense in general is down in the postseason. He gave several.

"I think the postseason, at times, players will try too hard," Girardi said. "I think you see that. What it means to us -- you think about you went through 225 days to get to that point and you sacrificed a lot. Physically, mentally, family, there's a lot that you go through to get to that point. And I think players want it so bad, they can try too hard sometimes. The big thing is learning how to relax.

"I think the other thing that people don't talk a whole lot about is usually the teams that get to the playoffs have the best pitching. So runs are going to be at a premium. It is cooler, the ball is probably not going to travel like it does in the summer, there's a lot of factors that go into, I think, less runs being scored. With days off, bullpens are fresher and you can use your top-notch guys a lot more, and you push them more. And I think that's why you see less runs."

Bad luck doesn't help, either.

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