Umpire Jerry Layne (24) restrains Yankees manager Joe Girardi who...

Umpire Jerry Layne (24) restrains Yankees manager Joe Girardi who was arguing with home plate umpire Bob Davidson. (June 2, 2012) Credit: AP

DETROIT -- Be clear on this point: The Yankees did not blame plate umpire Bob Davidson for Saturday night's 4-3 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park.

"We had chances to win that game," Joe Girardi said after former Mets catcher Omir Santos' game-winning sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth.

Unquestionably true, as the Yankees' recent issues with runners in scoring position, particularly with the bases loaded, again reared their ugly heads.

But anger pervaded the clubhouse because of what happened in the seventh inning, one in which the Yankees came up empty and lost a manager and a coach in the process.

It was the second time in three games the Yankees had a problem with an umpire. Catcher Russell Martin criticized Laz Diaz after Wednesday's game in Anaheim, in which Diaz wouldn't let him throw fresh baseballs back to the pitcher after foul balls. This time Girardi believed Davidson baited hitting coach Kevin Long -- who he said didn't use any profanity -- by staring him down in the dugout. "Their job is to keep peace,'' Girardi said, "and to me, that's not what he did."

He added, "Every night we go out and it means something to us. The only thing that means something to them is how they do their job, not whether they win or lose. Because they don't win or lose. It means something to us. We have to have some leniency. You have to understand that we're going to get emotional, and if you do something in a spot where we feel it's wrong, we're going to get upset. It happens. It's life."

Nick Swisher said Davidson was "laughing" after tossing Girardi, which could not be corroborated.

The Yankees tied it at 2-2 in the eighth on Swisher's two-out RBI single, which took Hiroki Kuroda off the hook.

Miguel Cabrera then hit his second homer of the game in the bottom of the eighth, this one off Cory Wade, to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead. But Jose Valverde hit two batters and walked two to force home the tying run in the top of the ninth.

After Robinson Cano popped up with the bases loaded for the second out, Valverde fell behind Mark Teixeira 3-and-0 before walking him on the seventh pitch of the at-bat. But Raul Ibañez grounded out to strand three runners, leaving the Yankees 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. They stranded 12.

One-out singles by Brennan Boesch and Jhonny Peralta put runners on first and third in the bottom of the ninth, and Boone Logan replaced David Phelps. After an intentional walk to Ramon Santiago loaded the bases, Santos -- who had dropped a foul pop to extend Ibañez's at-bat in the top of the inning -- won it with a sacrifice fly to rightfield.

With runners on second and third and one out in the seventh, Curtis Granderson took the first pitch, which appeared low, for a called strike. He fouled the next pitch out of play near the Yankees' dugout on the third-base side, and as plate umpire Davidson -- who recently was suspended one game for "repeated violations of the office of the commissioner's standards for situation-handling" -- came over to call the play, he heard something and ejected Long.

That brought out Girardi, who engaged in an animated discussion before getting ejected and flinging his cap near Davidson's feet after the umpire tossed him. Granderson then struck out and Alex Rodriguez popped out to end the inning.

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