After struggling to get anything going offensively all day, the Yankees had their best shot to do some damage in the seventh inning this afternoon.
Trailing 3-2, New York loaded the bases with two outs, forcing Milwaukee manager Phil Garner to bring in lefty specialist Graeme Lloyd to pith to lefty Darryl Strawberry. Lloyd induced a ground ball to end the inning, and the Yankees’ threat was over.
Lloyd, the tall Australian southpaw, has been impressive this season, pitching to a 1.93 ERA over 42 innings in relief. He could be an attractive trade chip at the deadline, since the Brewers have been hovering around .500 all season and currently look at a 9-and-a-half game deficit in the AL Central.
Jimmy Key pitched well enough to win, but it wasn’t good enough – he gave up three runs on seven hits over seven innings on a day in which the Yankees offense stalled. Their two runs came on just one swing – a Ruben Sierra two-run home run in the second inning which gave the Yankees a short-lived 2-1 lead. Rookie shortstop Derek Jeter collected two of the Yankees’ six hits, raising his average to .287 on the season. Key is now 7-7 with an unimpressive 4.89 ERA.
Brewers starter Mike D’Amico went six and gave up two runs on four hits before giving way to a quartet of relievers who closed the door. The Yankees have now lost five of their last seven games, but still hold a comfortable eight game lead over the second place Orioles in the AL East.
After starting their 11-game road trip 4-0, the Yankees went a disappointing 2-5 over their last seven games. They finally head home to the Bronx to take on the 56-42 Texas Rangers tomorrow night.