"I don't think I've ever seen that in my life," Leyland said after the Tigers' 11-0 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday. "Never in my life can I remember a game being nothing-nothing after six innings and 10-0 after seven."
You would've had to have been around for those 1919 World Series champion Cincinnati Reds to have seen anything resembling it in the Major Leagues.
Not since Cincinnati's 10-run rally in the 13th inning in Brooklyn had a team broken up a scoreless duel with a double-digit inning in the seventh or later, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They weren't even the Brooklyn Dodgers at that point; they were the Brooklyn Robins.
Ninety years later, the Tigers became the second team in Major League history to lose that kind of game. And incredibly, it came after Edwin Jackson and Phil Hughes dueled for six scoreless innings.
While much of the damage will fall on left fielder Josh Anderson for his error on Jorge Posada's sacrifice fly or reliever Brandon Lyon on Jose Molina's grand slam to put the Yankees into double digits, a good share of credit arguably goes to Robinson Cano. Without his 12-pitch at-bat against Jackson in the fourth inning or their 10-pitch battle in the sixth, Jackson might well have made it into the seventh.
Instead, the Yankees took 117 pitches out of Jackson over his six innings of four-hit ball. Twenty-seven of them, including eight foul balls in the fourth inning, came in three at-bats against Cano, 5-for-21 for his career against Jackson when the big righty pitched for the Rays.
"He'd put the bat on a good pitch, and you just have to keep coming at him," Jackson said.
A bad hop earned Cano a two-out infield single in the fourth-inning meeting after he battled out of an 0-2 hole to work the count full. Hideki Matsui's triple off Curtis Granderson's glove in the sixth put a potential go-ahead run on third for Cano before Jackson sent him down swinging at a slider.
"I think he pitched as well as you could possibly pitch a guy in a big situation," Leyland said.
Jackson still felt strong at that point, having hit 98 mph on his 114th pitch of the night. Cano fouled that one off, too. With that pitch count, however, there was no way Jackson was going back out. He got Cano out when he needed, but the Yankees got Jackson out just in time. The fourth-inning duel with Cano, Leyland estimated, probably cost Jackson two-thirds of an inning, not just from the at-bat but the extra two batters Jackson had to face to finish the inning.
Jackson sent his opponent scoreless into the seventh for the third time in five starts this season, but he has a lone win to show for it.
Ryan Perry followed Jackson in the seventh and gave up a leadoff single to Nick Swisher. Midway through Perry's ensuing four-pitch walk to Melky Cabrera, Leyland made a visit to the mound.
The Tigers skipper has become known for occasionally going to the mound without making a pitching change, but usually just to discuss strategy or to talk about a mental approach rather than something mechanical. His visit with Perry lasted just a few seconds.
"I just told him, 'Don't worry about [the hit], don't let up, go right at them,'" Leyland said.
If only the rest of the inning could've been so brief. Instead, Leyland made two more visits to the mound, both for pitching changes, before the inning was over.
After Molina sacrificed the runners to second and third, Perry put the pinch-hitting Posada in an 0-2 hole before the Yankees' catcher hit a liner at Anderson. By appearances, Anderson seemed to struggle to find the ball in the lights. However, he said he was gearing up for Swisher to try to tag up and score.
"I saw it the whole way," Anderson said. "I didn't really stop. I hesitated, just to get some momentum on the throw. I knew the guy was at third and he was tagging. And when I hesitated to get some momentum, the ball was diving pretty hard, and by the time I could catch it, it was at my shoelaces."
The ball skipped past Anderson as Swisher tagged up and Cabrera rounded third behind him.
"Aggressive guy," Leyland said. "That's the way he plays. That's the way he's going to play. And that's the way I want him to play."
And as Leyland pointed out, Perry struggled to throw strikes after that at-bat. A walk to Derek Jeter brought out Leyland and brought in Nate Robertson. Johnny Damon, Matsui and Cano followed with RBI singles before Lyon walked in a run and gave up Molina's grand slam.
The rest is history.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.