Teixeira delivers clutch blast, but Yanks fall in ninth
First baseman hits game-tying homer; former Yankee wins it for Crew
MILWAUKEE -- Mark Teixeira's slow trot around the bases celebrating a clutch ninth-inning homer still seemed to be hanging in the air, and now the Yankees first baseman had a great view of a ball scooting down the right-field line, starting to unravel his dramatic moment.
Teixeira watched helplessly as Rickie Weeks' broken-bat double passed just fair over first base, and the Yankees were soon on the wrong end of this late drama. Mark Reynolds delivered a two-out single to drive in Weeks, lifting the Brewers to a 6-5 victory on Sunday at Miller Park.
"You go, 'Uh-oh, this turned real quickly,'" Teixeira said. "We were feeling really good about ourselves for a few minutes there, but that's baseball. It happens. We fought hard, but we just have to find a way to score a few more runs."
The Yankees were down to their final strike in the top of the ninth, but Teixeira kept the game going by blasting a full-count Francisco Rodriguez changeup over the right-field wall for a game-tying solo home run.
The run was the first of the year allowed by K-Rod, who had converted all 15 of his previous save chances. Teixeira has homered six times in his last 12 games, but the Yankees still finished their six-game road swing to Anaheim and Milwaukee with a 3-3 record.
"You look at the road trip, we lost three tough games," manager Joe Girardi said. "We end up 3-3, and we very easily could have been 4-2, 5-1, maybe even 6-0. That's the frustrating part. The guys are playing hard, we get a big at-bat from Texy in the ninth, and unfortunately we can't make it."
Reynolds' game-winning hit, a ground-ball single to left field, came on an 0-2 slider from losing pitcher Adam Warren. It immediately followed a pitch that Reynolds, a free swinger who played 36 games with the Yankees last season, had tried to bunt.
"Closers, they're not perfect," Reynolds said. "Sometimes you have to pick them up."
Neither are relievers. Warren came into the game in the eighth inning, and he threw a wild pitch that allowed Weeks to advance to third base before Reynolds' hit.
"It's tough," Warren said. "You want to go up there, put up a zero, get your offense in there, and I couldn't quite do it. You're trying to keep the momentum and trying to win the game."
The Yankees entered the ninth inning trailing after David Phelps, one of three hurlers already promoted from their bullpen to the rotation because of injuries, was staked to an early lead and watched the advantage melt away.
On an afternoon when the Yanks were hit with another body blow and placed CC Sabathia on the disabled list, Phelps held Milwaukee to a pair of runs over the first five innings but left with a no-decision thanks to a three-run Brewers sixth inning.
Phelps started that inning but permitted hits to the first two batters, handing the ball over to Matt Thornton. Jonathan Lucroy greeted Thornton with a pinch-hit single, tying the game, and Logan Schafer gave Milwaukee the lead by ripping a run-scoring double to right field off Dellin Betances.
Weeks added a run-scoring fielder's choice on a ground ball to shortstop Derek Jeter, who was honored by the Brewers in a pregame ceremony as he played his final regular-season game in Milwaukee.
"The fans, they were great all three games," Jeter said. "There were some signs that they had, things they were saying, the ovation. It's much appreciated."
Phelps allowed eight hits over five-plus innings, walking three and striking out one.
"It's a frustrating game," Phelps said. "When I was getting ahead of guys, I wasn't putting them away, and when I wasn't getting ahead of guys, I was just giving up hits. I've got to do a better job than that."
New York built a quick lead with three first-inning runs off Matt Garza, highlighted by Kelly Johnson's two-run, ground-rule double. Yangervis Solarte also added a sacrifice fly off of Garza, who labored in a 40-pitch frame but then settled in to hold New York scoreless over the next four innings.
"We just weren't able to bunch them together anymore," Girardi said.
Garza scattered six hits, walking four and striking out four. The Brewers battled back with a pair of third-inning runs, starting as Jeter stayed back on Weeks' two-on, one-out grounder, resulting in a run-scoring infield hit. Lyle Overbay then ripped a RBI single, trimming the Yankees' lead to a run.
The Yanks added a seventh-inning run off Zach Duke as Teixeira reached on a fielder's choice and scored on Solarte's sharp single to center field, but they were held scoreless until Teixeira came back to the plate in the ninth, spoiling Rodriguez's perfect season.
"It's tough. They're all tough losses, but we've got to like the way that we keep battling," Jeter said. "Tex was down to his last strike, he had a great at-bat and was able to hit a home run. That's all you can do."