On a day the Yankees announced expanded September plans to honor Derek Jeter, the team made it more likely that Jeter never will play another game in October.
Shane Greene allowed six runs in 22/3 innings as the Yankees began a crucial nine-game homestand Tuesday night with a 9-4 loss to the Red Sox.
The Yankees tried to claw back and had the tying run at the plate in the fifth when Brett Gardner -- batting third for the first time in his career -- was ejected after looking at an inning-ending third strike.
A furious Gardner slammed his bat down and executed a perfect two-handed slam of his helmet. He was ejected immediately by plate umpire Tim Timmons.
Neither Gardner nor Joe Girardi was upset the outfielder allowed himself to get thrown out. They were more upset with the call on the 2-and-2 pitch.
"It's the fight in him,'' Girardi said. "That's what we love about Gardy. It's frustration. It's a lot different when it's 3-and-2 in that situation with the bases loaded, [trailing] 7-3 . . . He knows strikes and balls, Gardy. He got frustrated a little. I think most people would've.''
Asked about how he would have reacted if he'd had a do-over, Gardner said: "Same way. As soon as he called it a strike, I was getting thrown out of the game. He threw me out before I even said anything to him. I knew it was a ball . . . I knew it wasn't close to the plate. And I wasn't happy about it.''
The Yankees fell five games behind the Tigers for the second AL wild card.
Before the game, the Yankees announced they will wear a special uniform patch honoring Jeter beginning Sunday, which is Derek Jeter Day at Yankee Stadium.
Gardner was up as the potential tying run because of an overturned call on a replay review that gave Jeter a single and the Yankees a run.
Boston had bombed Greene (4-2) for six runs, including a three-run homer from Daniel Nava and a solo shot by Xander Bogaerts in the third. The Red Sox led 7-1 when the Yankees tried to rally in the fifth against former Cardinal Joe Kelly (1-1 with the Red Sox).
A bases-loaded walk to Francisco Cervelli made it 7-2. Jeter came up with two outs and the bases loaded, and on the first pitch he hit a slow roller to short. He was called out by first base umpire Tim Welke to seemingly end the inning.
Girardi challenged the call and Jeter correctly was ruled safe after a review of 1:07. The hit made it 7-3 and preceded Gardner's strikeout and outburst.
"It is what it is,'' Gardner said. "Frustrating game and frustrating loss.''
The Yankees could have had a bigger inning, but a baserunning blunder with runners on first and second and none out cost them.
Carlos Beltran froze at second base on Martin Prado's drive over the head of leftfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Beltran eventually went to third and Brian McCann went to second. But Prado rounded first and also tried to go to second. He was tagged after a short rundown for the first out.
Girardi said Prado shouldn't have been watching the ball and should have watched the runner in front of him. To add injury to insult, Prado (2-for-3, home run) left in the ninth inning with a tight left hamstring and was scheduled for an MRI.