Monday, April 23, 2018
Sports

No hits, and now no luck for Cano

NEW YORK — Hitless at the plate, Robinson Cano isn't getting a break with the umpires, either.

The All-Star second baseman pleaded to no avail Sunday after a missed call by an umpire helped the Tigers beat the Yankees 3-0 and take a 2-0 lead in the AL Championship Series.

"We've just got to forget about these two games," Cano said.

Cano, an MVP-caliber player for much of the summer, is hitless in a postseason record 26 straight at-bats and is 2-for-32 overall (.063).

"It is odd," manager Joe Girardi said. "You know this is a really, really good hitter that is struggling right now, and he's not getting a lot of pitches to hit."

Cano's failure to run hard out of the batter's box has become glaring. And he let the ball pop out of his hand on a potential double play in the seventh inning, allowing Detroit's first run to score.

Then he wound up on the wrong side of a call by second-base umpire Jeff Nelson, who missed Cano's tag on Omar Infante when Infante tried to dive back into second after rounding too far. Instead of the third out, the Tigers turned it into a two-run eighth.

"If it was the right call, it'd be a different game," Cano said.

AN ODD PATTERN: Girardi was ejected for arguing the missed call, his fifth ejection this season. Four have come against the Tigers. The other was against the Rays.

CONFIDENCE IN CLOSER: Jose Valverde didn't close for the Tigers, but manager Jim Leyland said the right-hander is keeping his role for now: "We will do some work with him." Valverde blew a save in Game 4 of the AL Division Series against the A's, then coughed up a 4-0 lead in Saturday's ALCS opener. LHP Phil Coke pitched two innings for the save Sunday.

COACH TO REST: Giants first-base coach Roberto Kelly will miss at least the first two games of the NL Championship Series with a concussion after being hit in the back of the head by a foul ball in batting practice Saturday. Assistant batting coach Joe Lefebvre took over his duties.

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