By Jay Jaffe
August 04, 2014

When the Tigers traded Austin Jackson to the Mariners as part of the three-way trade that landed David Price, they called up 27-year-old minor leaguer Ezequiel Carrera from their Triple-A Toledo affiliate. On Monday, Carrera made his first start for the team, and it didn't take long for him to make his presence felt.

In the bottom of the third inning at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees loaded the bases with three straight singles off Max Scherzer by Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter. A big inning appeared to be on tap when Jacoby Ellsbury smoked a drive to right center field, but the speedy Carrera got a great jump and made a spectacular diving catch as he reached the warning track, as seen above.

As great as the play was, it didn’t entirely snuff the Yankees' rally. Suzuki scored on the play via a sacrifice fly, and two batters later, Gardner came home via a Brian McCann single, but those were the only runs surrendered by Scherzer, who scattered nine hits and three walks over seven innings while striking out four.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, Brandon McCarthy and the Yankees bullpen were even better than the reigning AL Cy Young winner. McCarthy needed 34 pitches to wriggle out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second inning, but he yielded just one run (unearned) on five hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings while striking out eight; he's posted a 2.08 ERA through five starts since being traded from the Diamondbacks. Relievers Matt Thornton, Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley and David Robertson retired 10 of the 11 batters they faced to shut the door.

The lone hit the Yankees bullpen surrendered was a seventh-inning double off of Warren by Carrera, who spent a total of 131 games in the majors with the Indians and Phillies from 2011-2013, hitting .251/.306/.339 while stealing 18 bases in 24 attempts. Carrera hit .307/.387/.422 with 43 steals in 56 attempts at Toledo before being recalled, though he was limited to just two innings of work in his first three games on the big club’s roster, each of which saw righty-swinging Rajai Davis start in center field against a lefty. Carrera, a lefty, figures to see more time against righties, particularly now that manager Brad Ausmus has seen what he can do with the leather.

With the loss, the Tigers fell to 61-48, trimming their AL Central lead to 4 1/2 games over the Royals. The win moved the Yankees' record to 58-53, leaving them five back in the AL East and one back in the Wild Card race. Their last 15 games have been decided by two runs or less, the longest streak since 1975 according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They're 9-6 in those games, and an MLB-best 37-25 in all games decided by one or two runs. 

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