Kei Igawa was predictably awful last night, though in an unpredictable way. After I called him a Three True Outcome pitcher in my preview, Igawa didn't walk anyone, give up any home runs, or strike anyone out. He also didn't make it out of the fourth inning. Taking a closer look, the Tigers were too busy getting hits to draw any walks (Igawa faced 20 men, 11 of them got hits), spacious Comerica Field helped reduce some would-be homers to doubles or long outs, and only two of Igawa's 64 pitches were swung at and missed.
With his team down 6-1, two men on, and none out in the fourth, Joe Girardi brought in Jonathan Albaladejo in relief of Igawa. Albaladejo squirmed out of the inning, thanks in part to Ivan Rodriguez oversliding third base after tagging up on a fly out to right, and pitched around a single in the fifth, but after striking out Marcus Thames to start the sixth, he gave up a single and a walk. Albaladejo's next two pitches were balls, and after the second, he was removed from the game due to elbow pain. The Yankees later described the pain as "discomfort in the medial right elbow." Albaladejo told Pete Abe it felt like there was a needle going through his elbow followed by a burning sensation. I'm no doctor, but that doesn't sound good.
So, Albaladejo has hit the DL and will get an MRI in New York tomorrow. To fill his spot, Chris Britton, who had just been sent down to make room for Igawa, has been recalled less than 24 hours after being optioned for the second time this season.
Back to the game, the Yankees' only run off Kenny Rogers came on a Jason Giambi solo shot in the third. With Rogers out of the game, Robinson Cano led off the seventh with a double and was plated by a wild pitch and a Chad Moeller single. LaTroy Hawkins got five outs on 12 pitches in relief of Albaladejo, and Edwar Ramirez pitched a perfect eighth, sending the game to the ninth inning with the Tigers up 6-2.
Facing Detroit closer Todd Jones, Wilson Betemit, who had a rough day in the field at third base and also became Kenny Rogers record-setting 92nd career pick off after a single in the second, led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a Robinson Cano groundout to make it 6-3. Johnny Damon then pinch-hit for Moeller, reached on an infield single, moved to second on another wild pitch, to third on a Melky Cabrera groundout, and was plated by a Derek Jeter single to make it 6-4. Jeter took second on defensive indifference and was immediately driven home by a Bobby Abreu double that made it 6-5. Jim Leyland then elected to walk Hideki Matsui, thus ending Godzilla's hitting streak, to have the right-handed Jones face the right-handed Shelley Duncan. Duncan took ball one, then got good wood on a ball low and away and lifted it to deep left center. Unfortunately, he got a little too much air under the ball and hit it a bit too much toward center where defensive replacement Curtis Granderson easily reeled it in for the final out, leaving the Yankees 180 feet short of extending the game. Final score: 6-5 Tigers.