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10/04/06 2:00 AM ET

Tigers Short Hops: Game 1

Robertson's rough outing sets dark tone against Yanks

NEW YORK -- Fielding the Tigers' Game 1 loss to the Yankees on a short hop ...

In < 25 words ...
The Tigers' bats kept it interesting, but Detroit simply couldn't overcome a rough outing from left-hander Nate Robertson.

Frozen moment
Robertson has typically been tough against left-handers this season, having allowed only two homers to lefties all year, but it was the left-handed-hitting Jason Giambi who all but sealed Game 1 for the Yankees in the third. Giambi tattooed Robertson's 1-2 pitch over the right-field wall to cap a five-run outburst.

Big number
Twelve. The number of hits given up by Robertson, who began elevating his pitches in the third. The hits often came in bunches, and they spoiled the first postseason outing for the left-hander.

Game balls (out of five)
Craig Monroe, three. He got the Tigers off the schnide with a solo home run off Chien-Ming Wang in the fifth.

Placido Polanco, four. His two-out, two-run double in the fifth was a big one for the Tigers, as it pulled them to within 5-3 and helped shake off the drama of the third.

Curtis Granderson, three. The young leadoff hitter didn't appear to have any postseason jitters, as he came through with a pair of hits, including a solo homer in the seventh.

Sense of October
An already raucous crowd became truly electric when Derek Jeter legged out a double off Robertson in the third to put two runners in scoring position. It became clear at that point that Robertson was rattled.

Lines of the Game
Placido Polanco
4 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 2B, 2 RBIs
Comment: Polanco atoned for grounding into his first-inning double play with the two-run double in the fifth.

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Nate Robertson
5 2/3 IP, 7 R, 12 H, 0 BB, 1 K
Comment: It looked touch-and-go that Robertson would even make it out of that rough third inning. He bounced back from it to tame New York in the fourth and fifth, only to see the Yanks' bats flare up again in the costly sixth.

"That's why they've got that payroll. They're getting paid to do what they did tonight. They fight off tough pitches and do damage to pitches other guys can't do damage to." -- Robertson, on the potent Yankees lineup

Next step
A strong start from rookie right-hander Justin Verlander in Game 2 is a must if the Tigers are going to get back in this thing. He'll be going up against a tested playoff veteran in Mike Mussina.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.