NEW YORK — After a downpour that caused flash-flood warnings led to the afternoon’s second lengthy delay, Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus met in center field with crew chief Jerry Layne. There was about an inch of standing water dampening their cleats, down from pond-like areas a short time earlier.
By the time play resumed more than an hour later, after the grounds crew aerated the field with pitchforks, nearly all the water had drained.
“I can’t believe we got the game in, as bad as the field looked,” Detroit pitcher Jordan Zimmermann said after Wednesday’s 2-0 win over New York, which ended 7 hours, 29 minutes after the scheduled 1:05 p.m. start.
Major League Baseball, after consulting with the Yankees, delayed the first pitch by 1:26. A deluge after the seventh inning caused a 3:11 interruption, much of it to allow the grounds crew to work on the field.
“Players entertained themselves with hijinks and card games, and the coaches just kind of sit around,” Ausmus said.
No hijinks for the manager and his staff.
“We’re too old for that,” the 48-year-old Ausmus said.
Zimmermann pitched his first scoreless outing for Detroit in 1 1/2 seasons. Justin Upton hit an early RBI double against Masahiro Tanaka (8-10) on the 10th anniversary of Upton’s major league debut.
Zimmermann (7-8) did not allow run in his first three outings with the Tigers after signing a $110 million, five-year contract, starting with 24 1/3 scoreless innings last year. After not pitching shutout ball in 35 outings since, he allowed six hits over seven innings, walked none and struck out six, including three in a row looking in fourth.
“The ball’s coming out much better than it did the first half of the season,” Zimmerman said.
Only a few hundred fans from the original crowd of 43,379 remained when play resumed shortly after 8 p.m.
Bruce Rondon, overcoming two broken spikes on his cleats, pitched the bottom of the eighth. Shane Greene finished with a perfect ninth for his second save in two nights since taking over as the Tigers’ closer following the trade of Justin Wilson to the Chicago Cubs.
Tanaka dropped to 0-6 in day games this year. He allowed a run and three hits in his first five pitches, then gave up only an unearned run over the next five innings. Tanaka allowed up six hits and struck out six, lowering his afternoon ERA from 14.81 to 12.15.
Detroit went ahead after five pitches when Ian Kinsler and Jim Adduci singled, and Upton grounded a double past third baseman Todd Frazier and down the left-field line.
Tanaka walked Mikie Mahtook with two outs in the fourth, and James McCann singled to center. Jacoby Ellsbury allowed the ball to kick off the heel of his glove, then dropped it as he tried to pick it up, and Mahtook scored on the error. Mahtook went first to home in 10.36 seconds, the fastest trip by a Detroit player this year, according to MLB Statcast.
New York was shut out for just the second time this season and went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position, dropping to 1 for 18 over the last two games. After going 0-8-2 in series during a swoon that began in mid-June, the Yankees won three series in a row before losing two of three games to the Tigers. This loss left New York a game behind Boston in the AL East.
“You just have to find ways to get that situational hitting — whether it’s hitting a groundball, or a sac fly,” Chase Headley said. “As a group we have not done that very well lately.”
Judge is hitting .149 (10 for 67) with four homers, nine RBIs and 29 strikeouts since the All-Star break, dropping his average from .329 to .299. He has struck out in 21 consecutive games.
“Just missing my pitch,” he said. “I am getting my pitch. I’m not capitalizing on that.”
Dellin Betances struck out the side on nine pitches in the eighth , retiring Adduci swinging, Upton looking and Miguel Cabrera swinging. It was the sixth “immaculate inning” in Yankees history, according to Baseball Almanac, after AL Downing (Aug. 11, 1967), Ron Guidry (Aug. 7, 1984), A.J. Burnett (June 20, 2009), Ivan Nova (May 29, 2013) and Brandon McCarthy (Sept. 17, 2014).
Tigers: SS Jose Iglesias didn’t start for the second straight day after straining his right wrist on a strikeout Monday. He was a late defensive replacement.
Yankees: OF Aaron Hicks (strained oblique) went 1 for 3 in his first rehab game with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd (5-5) is to open a series at Baltimore and RHP Chris Tillman (1-6).
Yankees: RHP Sonny Gray (6-5) is scheduled to make his Yankees debut in Thursday’s series opener at AL Central-leading Cleveland, which starts RHP Corey Kluber (8-3), the 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner.
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