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Soriano allows go-ahead homer in Game 3

New York Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano throws

New York Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano throws during the sixth inning of Game 3. (Oct. 3, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

DETROIT -- Just like that, Rafael Soriano went from hero to zero.

The setup man had relieved CC Sabathia with one out in the sixth inning and a man on third and escaped the jam. But after the Yankees scored twice in the top of the seventh to tie it, he snuffed out the feel-good vibes in the dugout by serving up a go-ahead home run to Delmon Young in the bottom of the inning, and the Tigers went on to a 5-4 victory over the Yankees in ALDS Game 3 Monday night at Comerica Park.

Afterward, Soriano didn't express any frustration about the outcome or his missed location on Young's homer. "I think it was a good pitch," he said through an interpreter. "Fastball away and he hit it out."

Soriano, whose season has been marked by his unpredictability, took the ball from Joe Girardi in the sixth with the Yankees trailing 4-2 and somehow kept the score that way.

With a runner on third and one out, he got Brandon Inge to pop out in foul territory for the second out and struck out Austin Jackson on a 96-mph cutter to end the threat.

The Yankees -- blown away much of the night by Justin Verlander's 100-mph fastballs -- tied it at 4-4 in the top of the seventh on Brett Gardner's two-out, two-run double. And with the season potentially hanging in the balance, Soriano went back to the mound to face the Tigers' Nos. 2, 3 and 4 hitters.

He got Ramon Santiago to foul out to third, but moments later, his first pitch to the righthanded-hitting Young was a 95-mph cutter that wound up in the rightfield stands for a 5-4 Tigers lead.

"To me, that was a good pitch," Soriano insisted. "Nothing I can do now. That was a good location, he just hit it out. We just have to come back tomorrow."

It very well may have been Soriano's last game as a Yankee. The reliever signed a three-year, $35-million contract with the Yankees in January. Under the terms of the contract, he can opt out after the first or second year of the deal.

With the Yankees losing by three runs in the ninth inning in Game 2 on Sunday, Girardi opted to go with Luis Ayala over Soriano and David Robertson. Ayala allowed a run to give the Tigers a 5-1 lead, and the Yankees responded with two in the bottom of the ninth but fell short.

With Sabathia off his game Monday night, Girardi tapped Soriano to steady the ship this time. He did for a while, but it ultimately backfired.

Girardi said he didn't worry about sending Soriano back out for the seventh despite the fact that he had not thrown more than an inning the entire season.

"No I didn't, because he was well-rested," Girardi said of Soriano, who last pitched Sept. 27. "He missed the location. That's going to happen. He went out and got the next couple of guys out. He was fine."

Soriano insisted he felt good. "I was ready today for that situation because I knew the situation of the game,'' he said. "I'm going to go in for the last two outs of that inning and then come back again in the next inning. But I was mentally ready and prepared for that."

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