DETROIT — On a night when the Yankees hit six homers, they still didn’t get enough offense to beat the dreadful Tigers.
Chance Adams allowed a game-winning single to Jordy Mercer with one out in the bottom of the ninth Tuesday, sending the Yankees to an ugly 12-11 loss at Comerica Park.
Grayson Greiner’s one-out double sparked the rally and pinch-runner Willi Castro scored the winning run.
In their race for the best record in the American League, the Yankees blew an early 6-0 lead, as just about every pitcher Aaron Boone turned to struggled.
In fairness, there’s a chance none of the relievers used by Boone that gave up runs will be on the postseason roster — other than Adam Ottavino, who allowed an unearned run in the seventh.
The Yankees wasted a strong performance by their lineup and started what should be the easy part of their schedule in shaky fashion.
After finishing their last series against the Red Sox, the Yankees have just two games remaining against teams that are above .500 — a pair of games in Tampa Bay on their final road trip.
And while that schedule figures to be conducive to the Yankees collecting more wins as they try to top the Astros for the best record in the American League, the stretch of games against a collection of also-rans might make it a challenge for them to stay sharp as the playoffs approach.
“No matter who we play this year, guys have done a great job of staying focused,’’ Boone said before the game. “There have been very few games where we didn’t put our best foot forward or were flat. Very rarely have guys gone out there and not been focused. I expect that to continue.”
It didn’t on Tuesday.
Of course, there’s a decent chance six of the eight pitchers the Yankees used Tuesday will be on the postseason roster.
After jumping to a 6-0 lead on the back of two Brett Gardner homers and a two-run triple from Tyler Wade, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Luis Cessa gave it all back in the bottom of the third, thanks in part to an error by Gleyber Torres that turned an inning-ending double play into a bases-loaded jam.
The Tigers scored four unearned runs, with a two-run single by Grayson Greiner tying the game at 6-6 that was set up by Clint Frazier’s errant, ill-advised throw home.
Torres helped atone for his mistake in the top of the fourth with a go-ahead, two-out homer and Gregorius hit his first homer of the night in the fifth to give them an 8-6 lead.
But Cessa gave up another run in the bottom of the inning and a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Miguel Cabrera off Jonathan Loaisiga made it 8-8 in the sixth.
A two-run single by Jeimer Candelario put Detroit ahead for the first time, but it didn’t last long, as Encarnacion and Gregorius made it 11-10.
But even when Boone went to the heart of the Yankees’ pen, it didn’t work, as Ottavino walked Mercer, who advanced on a passed ball by Gary Sanchez and Harold Castro’s single scored Mercer to knot the game again.
Prior to the game, left-hander Zack Britton acknowledged the Yankees’ lack of quality opponents could pose a challenge.
“That is something we have to be careful of, but I’m not too worried about it,’’ Britton said.
Boone remains confident that his team, which rolled into Detroit tied with the Astros for the best record in the AL, won’t let down, regardless of who it is facing.
“We know what’s at stake,’’ the manager said. “Guys know how important these games are. We’re fighting not only to win the [AL] East, but we’re also in a position to potentially secure a better [spot] in the playoffs. Guys recognize that. And we understand the importance of hopefully being at your best at this point in the season.’’