The Yankees have now lost four out of five and eight of their last 10 after tonight's 4-3 loss, the third straight one-run game they've played against the Rays.

"I think we're playing hard, we're playing with a lot of heart, we're leaving it all out there," Alex Rodriguez said. "I think the one thing that stands out for me is I think offensively as a whole we have to get better situational hitting. A hit here, a hit there and we could have won three out of five instead of losing four out of five." 

Tonight the Yankees left 10 on and were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

But most of the attention afterward was focused on Phil Hughes -- and Derek Jeter, of course -- and the two bad pitches he threw to Dan Johnson.

"He made two mistakes tonight and Dan Johnson hit them both out," Joe Girardi said.

Hughes was perfect through four before allowing Johnson's two-run homer in the fifth and two-run shot in the seventh, the final one providing the final margin.

“He yanked a fastball down and in both times,” Hughes said. “For the most part I executed my pitches to the other guys and he was the one that I didn’t.”

By far the strangest sequence of the night -- and one of the stranger ones of the season -- happened in the seventh when Derek Jeter was awarded first on a ball that appeared to hit him but didn't. 

“The bat,” Jeter smiled, asked what the ball hit. “He [plate umpire Lance Barksdale] told me to go to first. I’m not going to tell him I’m not going to go to first. My job is to get on base.”

Jeter said the initial “vibration” caused him to grab his arm and jump around but also an equal amount of something else.

“Acting,” he said.

Replays showed the ball hit the knob of Jeter’s bat, which was Joe Maddon’s immediate contention to Barksdale as Joe Girardi and trainer Gene Monahan tended to Jeter. The umpires huddled and after the call was upheld, Maddon kept debating Barksdale.

“I was just trying to present logic because none of them could tell me that they knew that the ball had hit his hand, but everybody could have told me the ball did hit the bat,” said Maddon, who was eventually ejected by Barksdale. “So for me, it was a ground ball back to then pitcher.”

As Jeter watched Maddon argue with the umpires, he had one thought.

“Don’t change your mind,” he said. “What can you say? My job is to get on. He said it hit me so I’m not going to argue with him.”

Maddon didn't hold it against Jeter.

"If our guys did it, I would have applauded that too," Maddon said. "It's a great performance on his part."

And with that, back at it in Baltimore Friday night as it will be A.J. Burnett (10-13, 5.13) taking on Kevin Millwood (3-15, 5.30).


 

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