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New York — Chase Headley and the New York Yankees came up just a few feet short.
Headley's bid for a tying home run in the 12th inning was caught at the wall, and the Yankees' three-game winning streak ended Tuesday night with a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
"We had a lot of opportunities to win that game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It was tough, but that's part of the game. The pitchers are asked to do a job. The hitters are asked to do a job. We're playing a very good team and it's going to happen sometime."
After David Price struck out 10 over 8 2-3 innings in his Detroit debut, Alex Avila homered in the 12th for the AL Central leaders.
Joe Nathan held on for his 23rd save in 28 tries, retiring Headley on a leadoff drive that was caught by right fielder J.D. Martinez.
"Two strikes, you know, you're not taking a full-blown normal swing. But, yeah, I felt I got enough of it that it had a chance. Unfortunately, it came up just short," Headley said.
The Tigers got Price from Tampa Bay last Thursday in a three-team deal minutes before the trading deadline. The lefty ace got to keep his No. 14 — center fielder Austin Jackson, who wore it with Detroit, was sent to Seattle in the big swap.
Price leads the majors in strikeouts (199) and innings (179 1-3). Bushy bearded Joba Chamberlain replaced Price, and the crowd booed the formerly clean-shaven Yankees reliever.
"I didn't know what to expect," he said. "I definitely had to take a couple of deep breaths."
The Yankees are in the midst of facing Detroit's three Cy Young Award winners. They edged Max Scherzer on Monday, and will next see Justin Verlander on tonight.
Avila homered with one out off Matt Daley (0-1). Joakim Soria (2-4) got the win.
Daley, called up Monday from Triple-A for his fourth stint of the season with the Yankees, said he wanted that chance.
"That's when it's fun. That's when I want to come in, in big spots," he said. "When it's all on the line, that's when I want to be in there. That's part of what's frustrating as well. I wanted to come up big and put up some zeroes for the guys."
This was the Yankees' 16th straight game decided by two or fewer runs, and they're 9-7 in that span. It's the longest such streak in the majors since a 16-game stretch by Baltimore in 1975, the team said in citing the Elias Sports Bureau.
Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter exited with a bruised left hand after being hit by a pitch from Dellin Betances in the ninth. He is day to day.
Yankees: First baseman Mark Teixeira went 0 for 5. He was a late scratch Monday when felt lightheaded. ... Left-hander CC Sabathia says doctors took out a bone chip they found in his knee when they did season-ending surgery last week. He'll soon get a stem-cell injection. He expects to ready for spring training.
Verlander (10-9, 4.66 ERA) starts against Chris Capuano (1-2, 4.50 ERA). Verlander is 0-2 in five regular-season starts at the new Yankee Stadium. No telling if his special fan will be in the stands — Verlander flipped a ball to supermodel Kate Upton on Monday night, but she wasn't sitting in her seat behind the Tigers dugout Tuesday.
Can't catch him
Yankees speedster Jacoby Ellsbury escaped a rundown in the first, but paid a price. Trapped in a rundown by Price's pickoff throw, Ellsbury outran second baseman Ian Kinsler back to first. Ellsbury made a headfirst dive into the bag, and Kinsler stepped on his right hand as the chase ended.
With a runner on second and one out in the seventh, Brendan Ryan hit a soft liner that Kinsler caught. Kinsler pivoted and tried to throw to second for a double play, but slipped and tossed the ball straight into the ground. Fortunately for the Tigers, it went right to first baseman Miguel Cabrera.
Lefty Rich Hill made a dubious debut for the Yankees. Promoted from Triple-A before the game, he entered in the middle of the 11th. He hit the first batter he faced, Ezequiel Carrera, and was pulled.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter made a leaping, backhanded grab to snare Cabrera's line in the fourth. The next inning, J.D. Martinez hit a hot shot that glanced off second baseman Ryan's glove, and he caught the carom with his bare hand.