The Yankees talked Wednesday night in Washington about returning home, enjoying an off day Thursday, then "turning the page" from a lost three-city trip.
But two games into this homestand, it's been the continuation of the same horror story. One that keeps getting worse by the chapter.
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Less than 24 hours after a seven-run third inning by Texas sunk the Yankees on Friday night, they allowed 10 runs in the third inning in a 15-4 loss to the Rangers in front of 42,067 Saturday afternoon at the Stadium.
It was their fifth straight loss and ninth loss in 10 games. And it wasn't easy viewing for the manager.
"It's pretty frustrating, I can tell you that, watching what we watched today," Joe Girardi said. "You know that during the course of the season you're going to have those games. It doesn't make it any easier."
Saturday afternoon's humiliation brought a familiar plot: poor starting pitching (CC Sabathia lasted only 21/3 innings), slapdash defense (the Yankees were charged with only one error, but it could have been more) and mostly nonexistent offense (they trailed 13-0 after 51/2 innings).
The Yankees' most effective pitcher was first baseman Garrett Jones, who threw a scoreless two-thirds of an inning in the ninth.
"We got embarrassed," Brett Gardner said. "It seems about as bad as it can get."
Even worse than the first nine games of the season. The Yankees started 3-6, resembling a poor Triple-A outfit more than a major-league club, but then went 18-6 to get to 21-12 and appeared to separate themselves in a mediocre AL East.
"I still think we have a real good group of guys in this room and we're capable of doing some special things. We just haven't shown it in the last week, week and a half," Gardner said. "I think everyone knew it wasn't reasonable to sustain the pace we were on, winning [18 out of 24]. But we've obviously looked pretty bad the last week or so. Feel bad for our fans. Had a good turnout today and we were pretty bad."
Fordham product Nick Martinez (4-0, 1.96) was not, allowing one hit through five innings. Two of the five hits he allowed were what amounted to mostly insignificant solo homers by Carlos Beltran in the sixth and Didi Gregorius in the seventh.
The Rangers (20-23) had 12 hits through six innings and finished with 15. Shin-Soo Choo had four RBIs in the third -- an RBI single off Sabathia and a two-out, three-run homer off Esmil Rogers -- and Prince Fielder added a two-out, two-run homer off Branden Pinder in the seventh to make it 15-1.
"I just think balls were up," Sabathia (2-6, 5.47) said of the third inning, when the Rangers had eight hits, two walks and a hit batsman. "The fastballs were up and they played pepper."
Sabathia struck out four in the first two innings but walked the No. 9 hitter, Jake Smolinski, to begin the third. Smolinski came in hitting .140 with a .290 on-base percentage.
Delino DeShields then sent a sharp grounder up the middle, where struggling shortstop Gregorius made a sliding stop but misfired badly on an ill-thought-out behind-the-back glove flip to Stephen Drew at second. A less flashy throw might have been too late to get the speedy Smolinski, but it was representative of the kind of season Derek Jeter's replacement has had.
After Choo's RBI single, Fielder, who homered twice Friday night in the Rangers' 10-9 win, sent an RBI single to right that scooted through the legs of Beltran. Two runs scored to make it 3-0, and Texas was well on its way.
Girardi yanked Sabathia after Elvis Andrus' two-run single with one out made it 5-0, replacing him with Esmil Rogers. Carlos Corporan added an RBI double, Smolinski lifted a sacrifice fly and Choo capped the inning with his opposite-field homer.
Sabathia allowed six runs and seven hits in his 21/3 innings and Rogers allowed seven runs and four hits in three innings.
"They happen during the season," Girardi said of rough stretches. "It's no fun when you go through it. You don't expect to go through it for this long a period. We need to change it."