Melky's heroics not enough for Yanks
Clutch hit ties it in ninth, but Phillies take series finale in 11
NEW YORK -- There were no whipped cream pies in the new Yankee Stadium on Sunday, no Herculean extra-inning hits from the Major Leagues' most frequent comeback kids.
Instead, for the first time in a long time, the home dugout in the Bronx had no answer for the Phillies, who scored in the top of the 11th and held on to beat the Yankees, 4-3, in front of a crowd of 46,986.
It was the Yankees' first series loss since dropping a two-game set at home against the Rays on May 6-7.
"We're playing good ball, we just didn't get the breaks today," Johnny Damon said. "We had our chances and that's what you could take from this game. We definitely wish we could have had a walk-off and had another celebration. "
The Yankees appeared to be in a position to party again, after Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon opened the 10th with a pair of hits off reliever Clay Condrey. But Mark Teixeira -- who stepped into the box 2-for-3 with a homer -- grounded into a double play and after Condrey intentionally walked Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano's late-game replacement, Ramiro Pena, flied out to force more bonus baseball.
The chance would come back to haunt the Yankees in the 11th, as reliever Brett Tomko issued a two-out walk to Chase Utley and on the ninth pitch of his at-bat, Carlos Ruiz doubled in Utley as the go-ahead run.
"We made a great comeback, CC [Sabathia] threw a heck of a ballgame," Tomko said. "It was tough to go out there and not get the job done."
But Sunday's loss wasn't solely on Tomko, as the team left eight men on base and didn't convert on several key opportunities.
"We can't expect these guys to do it every time," Girardi said of the offense, which went 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
But given the Yanks' recent surge, with wins in 10 of their previous 11 games, another comeback wasn't entirely out of the question.
"We've been coming though in the clutch," said Sabathia, who ended a string of three wins with Sunday's no-decision. "You can't help but think we were going to come through again."
In what was advertised as a showdown between two of the game's premier left-handed pitchers, it was the repeat screening of Melky Cabrera against closer Brad Lidge that proved to be the marquee matchup, helping the Yankees erase a 3-2 deficit.
Cabrera, the reigning walk-off king, singled home Pena to tie the score at 3. But Lidge struck out Hideki Matsui and retired Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner on groundouts.
"Even the [11th] inning with two outs, I felt like [Kevin] Cash was going to get on and Gardy was going to get a big hit," Girardi said. "Because of what we've been through the last 10, 12 days, you have that feeling every time you're in that situation."
Franciso Cervelli started the Yanks' offense with a double off Cole Hamels in the bottom of the third. Derek Jeter followed and was ruled to have struck out on a foul tip. Jeter argued with home-plate umpire Mike Estabrook that the ball short-hopped before landing in Ruiz's glove, but Estabrook upheld his call despite television replays that showed the ball did bounce.
Damon followed with an RBI double to score Cervelli, but was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Teixeira's single to left field.
After the game, Damon said he didn't regret the aggressive baserunning move, and commended Ruiz for making the play.
"Hamels is a good pitcher and when you have chances you have to take them," Damon said. "Ruiz, he had quite a series. He blocked the plate very well."
The Yankees continued to chip away at the Phils' lead in the sixth, as Teixeira sent Hamels' fastball into the left-field stands for a broken-bat home run.
"I think the bat had to be broken before the at-bat," Teixeira said. "I hit it good. It just exploded."
Lost in the shuffle of Sunday's events was Sabathia, who allowed three earned runs over eight innings and, more importantly, kept New York within striking distance for most of the afternoon.
The big lefty ran into trouble with two outs in the third, as Ruiz singled and Jimmy Rollins' double tailed just outside of a diving Gardner, who let the ball scoot by him for an easy score.
"If I didn't think I could catch it, I wouldn't have tried to dive for it," said Gardner, who said he apologized to Sabathia following the play. "Really, it turned out to be the difference in the ballgame."
But Sabathia had nothing but praise for the speedy center fielder.
"I'd rather have him out there diving than letting the ball bounce in front of him," Sabathia said. "So you have to commend him on trying to make the catch."
And you have to commend the Yankees for an impressive 8-2 homestand against some tough clubs.
"Just the direction we are headed, we are playing good baseball," Sabathia said. "We lost a tough one [on Sunday], but you've got to be excited about our team."
Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.