This isn't about advancing to the World Series anymore. The Yankees stand so far away from the Fall Classic, they couldn't see the Commissioner's Trophy with the Hubble Space Telescope.

This is about restoring some sense of dignity around the industry's winningest team. And it starts with Robinson Cano.

The Yankees' most valuable player of 2012 stroked a ninth-inning single off old teammate Phil Coke last night in American League Championship Series Game 3, putting the game-tying run in scoring position as pinch runner Jayson Nix advanced to second base, and that ended the second baseman's postseason record 0-for-29 slump. October hero Raul Ibanez struck out to end the game, however, leaving the Yankees as 2-1 losers to the Tigers at Comerica Park and putting baseball's most expensive club in an ultra-dangerous, 3-0 hole.

For the good of everyone, Cano probably should continue to climb out of the hole he built for himself and his team. So he doesn't head into the winter drawing the months-long fury of Yankees fans.

"I never was thinking that I was 0-for-25, 0-for-30," Cano said after the game. "Just forget about what happened and try to get on base for the guys."

Of anyone on the Yankees' current roster — healthy, so let's not count the injured Derek Jeter — Cano might be the last guy you would peg for the sort of meltdown he just experienced, so perfect is his swing.

Yet here he is, having just climbed out of baseball purgatory, and it's times like now when the haters come out and point out that Cano doesn't wear his emotions as passionately as did, say, Paul O'Neill. Or as does Mark Teixeira. That he looks too relaxed while sitting in the Yankees' dugout, his feet resting on a cooler. And that he doesn't hustle out of the batter's box all of the time.