WASHINGTON - Nothing good came of Tuesday night for the Yankees.
Short term there was the disheartening 8-6 walk-off loss to the Nationals in 10 innings on Ryan Zimmerman's two-out, two-run homer off Andrew Miller, in front of 37,355 at Nationals Park. It was the Bombers' sixth loss on a nine-game trip that ends on Wednesday
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Long term there was a bigger loss, that of centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who left the game with a sprained right knee, landing him on the disabled list. Prospect Slade Heathcott was called up from Triple-A.
"If we are going to lose him for some time, someone's got to step up," Joe Girardi said afterward. "That's part of the game."
The injury occurred during Ellsbury's at-bat leading off the fourth, when he swung and missed at a 1-and-0 changeup from Gio Gonzalez. Girardi saw something he didn't like and when Ellsbury, who walked, went to second on Brett Gardner's groundout, he and trainer Mark Littlefield went out for a visit.
Ellsbury eventually scored in the four-run inning that gave the Yankees (22-18) a 4-2 lead, an advantage that grew to 6-2 in the fifth after Mark Teixeira's two-run homer, his team-best 12th of the year. But the centerfielder did not come out in the bottom half of the inning.
"I went out to talk to him and said, 'Are you in a lot of pain?' " Girardi said. "He said, 'No, not really.' Then I said, 'Can you run?' He said, 'Let me see.' When he got in the dugout, we just said that's it."
Ellsbury, hitting .324 with a .412 on-base percentage, both team bests, was not in the clubhouse afterward.
"Jacoby's our leadoff guy, gets on base and kind of gets things started," Brian McCann said of potentially losing Ellsbury for a while. "We're hoping for the best."
The Nationals (23-17) won it in the 10th when Zimmerman knocked Miller's 3-and-1, 96-mph fastball off the rightfield foul pole for his fifth homer of the season, the two-run blast accounting for the first runs allowed by the lefty reliever this season.
"Just a bad pitch," said Miller, who walked Yunel Escobar with one out but struck out Bryce Harper for the second out. "I can't do that there. I have to execute a better pitch in that situation."
Miller wanted the pitch down and away.
"Not a fastball up and away," Miller said. "That's kind of what he hits. Just a really poor pitch. Stinks, I let everybody down."
In reality, however, those goat horns belong more to Nathan Eovaldi. The righthander allowed first-inning homers to Ian Desmond and Harper, who hit his league-leading 15th. Harper entered last night leading the National League in home runs, RBIs (37), walks (36), runs (36) and OPS (1.206) and was 22-for-39 with a 1.385 slugging percentage in his previous 11 games.
Eovaldi allowed three runs in the fifth before getting yanked with one out. David Carpenter allowed a solo shot to Wilson Ramos in the sixth that tied it at 6.
"It just fell apart," Eovaldi said.
He was speaking of the fifth inning but just as well could have been speaking for his club's night in general.