The Yankees got a taste of what they are missing this season after Johnny Damon’s fifth inning home run gave the Tigers a 4-2 lead on a night that ESPN and Detroit honored longtime Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell, who passed away last week after a battle with cancer. The Yankees fell short during an eighth inning rally to finish the game down 5-4 for their second straight loss after winning 6 in a row and 9 of their previous 10 games.
The Yankees got a good look at three former members of the organization who are playing in Detroit this season. Austin Jackson, a former Triple-A star for the Bombers has led the AL in hits this season and although he was held hitless Monday night, he did have a sacrifice fly for an RBI. Johnny Damon was 1-3 with a HR and a walk. Both hitters are batting .360 and .295, respectively.
Former relief pitcher Phil Coke also faced off against his former squad, coming in during the top of the eighth with the bases loaded. After allowing one run to score on a fielder’s choice at second, Coke got Randy Winn to pop out before he was relieved of his duties with right-handed hitter Derek Jeter coming to the plate. The lefty Coke threw 5 pitches in his 2/3 of an inning.
It’s hard to see three former Yankees doing well for their new squads. Damon was a free agent acquisition for the Tigers after he and the Yankees brass couldn’t come to agreement on a contract price. Jackson and Coke were part of the deal that sent Curtis Granderson to the Bronx. After a great start to the season, including a home run in his first at-bat as a Yankee, Granderson has cooled off big time in the last few weeks, hitting only .225, and has not had an RBI since April 16 or home run since April 7. He was placed on the 15-Day DL May 2.