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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.

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Swisher, Gardner and Winn (l-r) celebrate 14-3 win over Red Sox

In five plate appearances today, Mark Teixeira joined Lou Gehrig as the only Yankees to hit three home runs against the Boston Red Sox. Tex and Francisco Cervelli drove in five runs each as New York clinched another series with a 14-3 win Saturday.

Teixeira hit solo homers in the fifth and seventh, then hit a two-run shot far over the left field wall in the eighth.

After another poor April showing, Tex is batting .393 in his last seven games (11 for 28) to raise his batting average to .207 (23 for 111).

Cervelli made his fourth straight start in place of catcher Jorge Posada, who said before the game his strained right calf muscle feels much better.

Cervelli singled in a run that tied the score 3-all in the third, hit a two-run single in the fourth that put the Yankees ahead 6-3 then capped a four-run eighth that made it 12-3.

Alfredo Aceves relieved CC Sabathia with two outs in the bottom of the fifth after a rain delay of 1 hour, 14 minutes. Clay Buchholz allowed six runs in five innings for Boston. Sabathia was decent enough, with the exception of making a boneheaded retaliation play when he beaned Dustin Pedroia on the backside and the next batter, Victor Martinez sent a 3-2 pitch over the Green Monster to give the Sox a 3-2 lead. If not for that play against Pedroia, the Yankees would probably have won the game 14-1.

The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the second. Ramiro Pena led off with a double, Derek Jeter walked and both advanced on Brett Gardner’s sacrifice. Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez followed with RBI singles.

With the score 3-all in the fifth, Teixeira homered. Then the Yankees loaded the bases on a walk to Rodriguez, a single by Robinson Cano and a walk to Randy Winn before Cervelli singled home two runs.

Aceves left the game in the sixth with a stiff lower back after throwing a strike on the first pitch to Jeremy Hermida. Boone Logan came in and struck him out. As Jane Heller said on her Twitter account, at least the Yanks only lost one player to an injury today.

AJ Burnett takes the mound against Jon Lester in the third match of the series. The Yankees have a 4-1 season record against the Sox and the Beantowners don’t look like they have any fight in them.

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There is no way we can no for sure, but Josh Beckett is usually a pitcher in control of his pitches.  Yet, in a crazy 6th inning that saw Beckett lose control of several pitches, hit three batters and allow 6 runs to be scored, one can’t help but question his motives.

Was Beckett getting angry at losing the game and loading the bases?  Did he really mean to plunk Derek Jeter and Francisco Cervelli?  Did he mean to hit Robbie Cano, smacking him in the knee and knocking him out of the game?

I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure, but I’ll tell ya, I can’t wait for the game to end and see the post-game news conference to see how Beckett handles the inevitable question about this from beat writers.

Two seasons ago, Robinson Cano was at the top of every diehard Yankees fan’s sh*tlist.  He had just finished a season which saw his batting average drop over 40 points from the previous season and over 80 points from the 2006 season.  He made a committment that off-season to turn things around and get back to his previous form.

Fast forward to 2010 and Robinson Cano is most definitely the best player on the Yankee roster this young season.  He has led the Yankees in virtually every statistical category at the plate and was tops in the majors in many categories.  Through 22 games in April, Cano was hitting .400, with 8 homers and 18 RBI.

In fact, Cano was the first player in Yankees history to do that in April.

While normally strong hitters Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez struggled to slow starts, Cano provided much of the spark at the plate for the Yankees offense and earned the #5 spot in the lineup going into May.

“You can teach someone to pull the ball,” Yankee Captain Derek Jeter told ESPNNewYork. “It’s tough to teach someone to hit the ball the other way, and Robby’s always been able to do it. That makes it tough to pitch to him.”

Big kudos to Cano.  I think he is making a good argument that the Yankees should be concerned with locking him into a long-term deal this off-season.

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