Robinson Cano stood in the middle of a Yankees' clubhouse so quiet you could hear the water pelting the shower floor harder than the Yankees have hit lately.

Cano and the Yankees had lost Game 3 of the ALCS, 2-1, to Justin Verlander and the Tigers before 42,970 at Comerica Park and fell into a 0-3 ditch that would be almost impossible to escape if they were hitting. Of course, they aren't.

"It's not over yet,'' Cano said of the best-of-seven affair that continues tonight with Game 4 when the Yankees will beg ace CC Sabathia to extend the season. "We have to keep our heads up.''

Joe Girardi's lineup shuffle, in which he benched Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher and inserted Eduardo Nunez at short, produced mixed results.

He ignored Rodriguez's strong track record against Verlander and instead focused on Rodriguez being 0-for-18 with 12 strikeouts against right-handers this postseason. So Girardi started Eric Chavez at third and he went 0-for-3 and committed a fielding error in the fifth that led to the Tigers' second run.

Brett Gardner started in left and went 0-for-4.

Nunez's leadoff homer in the ninth off Verlander gave the Yankees life, but Phil Coke fanned Raul Ibanez with a slider that stranded two runners and pushed the Yankees nine innings away from the offseason.

While the Yankees are almost done, the Tigers aren't looking past tonight, when they face Sabathia.

"It's going to be as tough as [last night] was to get the win,'' said Alex Avila, who will catch Max Scherzer, the Tigers' second best pitcher behind Verlander.