Two more homers for Ellsbury in loss to Tigers

It would have been awfully hard for Brandon McCarthy to match his previous start for the Yankees, a four-hit, eight-strikeout, complete-game shutout against the Astros in a tidy two hours and seven minutes last week at Yankee Stadium.

But if there was a team McCarthy might have pitched almost as well against, it was the Tigers. The righthander entered Tuesday night’s game at Comerica Park having won his prior three starts against Detroit with an ERA of 0.46 in 19 2/3 innings.

That streak came to an end and the Yankees’ five-game winning streak as well as the Tigers roughed up McCarthy for five runs and nine hits over 6 1/3 innings in a 5-2 Detroit victory that pushed the Tigers three games up on the Yanks in the race for the second American League wild-card playoff spot.

Indications that this might not be McCarthy’s night came as early as the second inning when he loaded the bases on a single, a walk and a hit batter and forced in a run with another walk. He averted further damage by getting Ian Kinsler on a double-play grounder.

J.D. Martinez, who had three hits off McCarthy, doubled with two out in the third for the second Detroit run. McCarthy then settled down and retired seven straight batters into the sixth before giving up three straight hits as the Tigers added two runs that inning. A leadoff double by Rajai Davis and a one-out single by Torii Hunter in the seventh led to another run and McCarthy’s departure.

His 1.90 ERA, the best for a Yankees starter through his first eight starts for the franchise since Jimmy Key’s 1.79 ERA in 1993, took a hike up to 2.47 as his record fell to 5-3 with the Yanks and 8-13 overall. Detroit did not crush the ball against McCarthy, who kept the Tigers in the yard but had a hard time keeping them off base.

The Yankees’ offense was pretty much all Jacoby Ellsbury, which is not all that surprising considering his career success against Tigers righthander Rick Porcello. Ellsbury accounted for both New York runs with a couple of solo home runs. He is now 11-for-17 (.647) with four home runs lifetime against Porcello, who was much better against the rest of the lineup.

Porcello held a Yankees lineup that had scored eight runs the night before at Kansas City to seven singles. His sinker was working big-time as the Yankees made 14 outs on ground balls to go with two strikeouts and no walks. Porcello’s 15th victory tied him with teammate Max Scherzer for the AL lead in that category.

For Ellsbury, it was his second consecutive three-hit game as he continues to be hot. He came off a .409 homestand to begin this trip with six hits in nine at-bats (.667) with three home runs and five RBI.

It is an encouraging sign for Ellsbury, who has hit much better at home this season than on the road. Ellsbury is batting .329 with five home runs and 22 RBI in 222 at-bats at the Stadium this year. The past two nights have boosted his road average to .246 with eight homers and 38 RBI in 268 at-bats.

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