Mark Teixeira raced toward home plate in the eighth inning, trying for another tack-on run for a Yankees team in need of a comfortable win for a change.
Teixeira said he saw just a glimmer of white in between Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday's leg -- representing the only part of the plate that was available for him to touch -- and so if only for a second, he was faced with the following dilemma: Do I reach my bare hand for the plate? Or accept the out?
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In truth, at that point the Yankees already were on their way to a victory. They won, 5-1, for their fourth win in five games.
The Yankees ended their franchise record of 16 straight games decided by one or two runs.
So who could blame Teixeira for being greedy and thinking about more tack-on runs? But his aggressiveness proved costly -- three stitches in his left pinky after a collision with Holaday's spike, and an unknown prognosis for when he might return.
In other words, just what the Yankees don't need.
Here's how it happened: Brian McCann grounded to first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who threw to second to attempt an inning-ending double play. But those hopes were thwarted when nobody covered first base, and shortstop Andrew Romine's throw sailed toward the Yankees dugout.
In what manager Joe Girardi described as "a great hustle play," Teixeira sprinted around third and headed for home as the throw was made to the plate.
Teixeira said his instincts called for him to reach out his left hand and touch the plate and get it out as quickly as possible, avoiding both the tag and the danger that comes with those spikes on the bottom of the catcher's cleats.
Teixeira was successful at touching the plate, but not at escaping the spike. "You try to get your hand in really quickly and get it out," he said, "but unfortunately I got the cleat."
The good news for the Yankees is that X-rays did not reveal any damage. But Teixeira described it as "a really bad cut" and laughed when asked if he could squeeze a bat. Not right now. As for when he could, he could only guess.
"Hopefully, not long,'' he said. "Hopefully, it will be healed soon."
Girardi said Teixeira will miss Thursday's game. Beyond that, "I'm not so sure how long the trainers will say," he said.
For the Yankees, it was a tough ending to what was otherwise such a feel-good night. Chris Capuano outpitched Justin Verlander, allowing only an unearned run in 62/3 innings and striking out eight. Verlander allowed two runs in seven innings.
Adam Warren (2-5) pitched out of a one-out, runners-on-the-corners jam in the eighth with consecutive strikeouts.
Chase Headley homered in the fifth to tie it at 1 for the Yankees. McCann, who continues to show signs of breaking out of his season-long funk, homered in the seventh off Verlander (10-10) to make it 2-1. It was McCann's second homer in as many games.
"It was a big moment in the game and I was able to get a pitch up in the zone and put a good swing on it," McCann said.
But it was the sight of Teixeira grabbing his left hand at the plate -- he initially was called out, but it was overturned on replay -- that left the Yankees holding their collective breath after the game.