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Yankees' rally in 9th falls short in loss to Indians

New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez walks

New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez walks to the dugout after he strikes out looking against the Cleveland Indians during the sixth inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

In the last 10 days, the Yankees have kept the powerful Blue Jays lineup in check and hit Twins pitching the way Donald Trump hits opposing Republican presidential candidates.

Oddly, what they haven't done is figure out the last-place Indians, with Thursday night's 3-2 loss at the Stadium the latest setback.

The Yankees, who lost two of three in Cleveland last week, did rally in the ninth. They scored once and put runners on second and third before Didi Gregorius flew out softly to left to end it.

The Yankees (67-53) had only five hits and saw their AL East lead over the idle Jays trimmed to 1½ games.

Alex Rodriguez led off the ninth with a single against closer Cody Allen and, with Brian McCann up, stole second. McCann was called out on strikes and, after he discussed it with plate umpire Dan Iassogna, Joe Girardi came out and was ejected.

"He threw me out before I even said something,'' Girardi said. "What if I was going to go out and say, 'What was the conversation with McCann?' So I don't think that's right. Now, if I said something first, that's it.''

Girardi said he was still upset with a called third strike in the eighth to Jacoby Ellsbury, which the manager claimed was "four inches outside.'' And there was the called second strike to McCann in the ninth.

"I just want the strike zone to be right,'' Girardi said. "I want the strike zone to be the strike zone.''

Iassogna told a pool reporter that after the second pitch to McCann, "I did hear some yelling from the dugout and I addressed that when I took off my mask and talked to the dugout.''

Of Girardi's claim of not saying anything when he came out, Iassogna said: "I ejected him for leaving his position to argue balls and strikes.''

Carlos Beltran's single made it 3-2, and rookie Greg Bird walked on five pitches. Allen fell behind Chase Headley 2-and-0 before getting him to ground to first, advancing both runners. Gregorius then let Allen escape with his 24th save.

Girardi said he had no history with Iassogna. "Danny usually does a really good job,'' he said. "I've never had a problem with Danny. Tonight I did.''

McCann didn't seem to have much of an issue with the umpire. "I like Dan, I've caught in front of him for a long time. I thought [the second called strike] was up, but he's a great umpire,'' he said. "We just had a disagreement. But that's not why I struck out. I struck out because I didn't swing the bat well tonight. The last one was right down the middle.''

Nor was Iassogna the reason the Yankees lost. It was their inability to hit Josh Tomlin, who had shoulder surgery in March and made his second big-league start since being activated. Tomlin (1-1, 2.03) allowed two hits and one run in seven innings.

Ivan Nova (5-5, 3.72), who won four of his previous five starts, allowed three runs and six hits in five innings.

After A-Rod's 26th homer, a leadoff blast in the fourth, Tomlin retired 12 of his last 13 batters. Centerfielder Abraham Almonte helped by racing back to take away an extra-base hit from Brett Gardner in the sixth.

The Yankees had two hits through seven innings.

The Indians (56-64) scored once in the second, third and fourth to take a 3-0 lead. "I fell behind a lot of hitters,'' Nova said. "I didn't do a good job tonight.''


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