DETROIT — Gerrit Cole did pretty much what he’s done all season on Friday night.
Unfortunately for the ace righthander, the Yankees’ offense did what it’s done in more than a few of his 2021 starts: It didn’t get much going. And it cost them, contributing to one of their worst losses of the season.
After the Yankees scored in the top of the 10th inning on a passed ball, Robbie Grossman’s two-run homer off Justin Wilson on a 3-and-2 pitch with two outs in the bottom half sent the Yankees to a brutal 3-2 loss to the Tigers on a windy 45-degree night at Comerica Park.
Wilson nearly had Grossman struck out on the 2-and-2 pitch but didn’t get the call. On the next pitch, a fan got the ball.
"Sometimes they’re called, sometimes they’re not," said Wilson, who has a 6.08 ERA. "I just haven’t pitched well. But I own that. I just have to be better."
The Yankees were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base. Rougned Odor, who homered in the fifth, had four of their 11 hits.
Aaron Judge started the 10th against righty Bryan Garcia on second, per the extra-innings rule implemented last season. He went to third on Gleyber Torres’ groundout and scored on catcher Jake Rogers’ passed ball.
The Yankees had a chance to take the lead in the ninth, but with runners on first and third, Giancarlo Stanton and Judge struck out.
Stanton returned to the lineup after missing 13 games with a quadriceps strain and struck out four times. "It really doesn’t matter how difficult it is,’’ he said. "If I’m going to be in the lineup, I gotta get it done. I had two opportunities to help us win this game and not have the outcome of tonight, and wouldn’t even have been in a walk-off situation there. It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been out, that has to get done . . . It’s nobody’s excuse to have. The pitcher doesn’t care if I’ve been out. The team cares, but I need to be in there producing, so I don’t take that excuse at all."
Cole, who came in 6-2 with a 1.81 ERA in his first 10 starts, allowed one run, six hits and a walk in six innings, striking out five.
His command, especially of his off-speed pitches, wasn’t what it’s been, but he certainly pitched well enough to win.
Cole got into trouble in four of his six innings, including the third and fifth, when the Tigers got a runner to third with one out each time. He escaped the third when Miguel Cabrera hit into a double play and the fifth by inducing a pop-up and a groundout. He also struck out Nomar Mazara with two outs and a man on third in the sixth and got a groundout with runners on first and second and two outs in the first.
"I mean, obviously, I’ve pitched better,’’ Cole said. "But I thought we did a good job with what we had . . . Wasn’t stringing as many good pitches together as I wanted to. I thought [Kyle Higashioka] was fantastic. There was a lot of short breaking balls that he did an unbelievable job on . . . so he was on top of his game today, and that really contributed to keeping some runs off the board."
Tigers righthander Casey Mize, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, came in 3-3 with a 3.42 ERA in nine starts — including 2-0 with a 1.73 ERA in his previous four outings — and was good again. The 24-year-old allowed one run and five hits in five innings, walking none and striking out seven.
The Tigers took the lead in the third. Grossman singled with one out and went to third when Harold Castro bounced a single up the middle into center. Swinging at a first-pitch changeup, Jeimer Candelario (three hits) singled to right to make it 1-0.
The Yankees came back in the fifth. Odor fell behind 0-and-2 before hammering a 93-mph fastball to right for his fifth homer and first since April 30, tying it at 1-1.