NEW YORK -- Didi Gregorius knew the potential rally had short-circuited before he even left the batter's box, having had the bad fortune to smoke a line drive right into Logan Forsythe's glove. His reaction summed up a frustrating afternoon for the Yankees.
Gregorius took the bat with his left hand and whipped it toward the first-base dugout, where it spiked the ground and helicoptered past the on-deck batter, Stephen Drew. At this time of year, any loss -- this one, a 3-2 decision to the Rays -- can produce those kinds of displays.
"I want to come through right there. Things happen," Gregorius said. "I know I didn't throw it in the stands. It bounced like right next to me and then kept bouncing off."
The Yanks had just five hits to show for the afternoon, but were piecing together a rally against Jesus Colome in the eighth, as Chase Headley and Greg Bird knocked two-out singles and Brian McCann worked a pinch-hit walk against the right-hander.
That brought up Gregorius, who had knocked in New York's first run of the game back in the fifth inning with an RBI double to deep left-center off Matt Moore.
Colome's first two pitches missed out of the zone and, after a called strike, Gregorius lashed a 95-mph fastball on a line. Forsythe was positioned perfectly to end the inning, and Brad Boxberger worked a perfect ninth for his 34th save.
"It could have been [a big inning]," manager Joe Girardi said. "The way we swung the bats and how patient we were -- and our ability to get on base and we started with two outs -- it's unfortunate."
Girardi said he had no issue with Gregorius' reaction.
"I actually kind of like it," Girardi said. "I like that he's a little upset. You don't want to see someone get hurt -- and no one did -- but that's frustration and understanding what time of year it is. I like his intensity."
Despite the missed chance, Gregorius has been one of the Yankees' hottest hitters of late, owning at least one RBI in seven of his last nine games dating to Aug. 26. He said the late rally had significance.
"That shows who we are. We always fight," Gregorius said. "We were down but we never gave up. That's one thing we have here, a great mentality. You have to fight for it. Nothing comes easy."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.