The Yankees showed life Tuesday, even if its season has none left.
The defenders’ gloves provided a spark that was welcomed.
But sparks go out.
An ice-cold offense again cooled off any semblance of good feelings, and the Yankees’ skid reached another historic low with their ninth straight loss, this one 2-1 to the Nationals in front of 38,105 mostly indifferent fans in The Bronx.
The Yankees have scored 13 runs combined in their past seven games and have entered territory unseen in 41 years with their longest losing streak since 1982.
Back then, Dave Winfield led the club in home runs and a pair of firings meant Gene “Stick” Michael, Bob Lemon and Clyde King all had stints managing the team.
Michael was fired following a doubleheader sweep so embarrassing that George Steinbrenner reportedly offered fans on hand free tickets to future games.
There were no such plans after the latest loss Tuesday.
The Yankees finished with two hits, both from catcher Ben Rortvedt, whose third-inning home run provided their only run.
The Nationals scored on a pair of homers, the second an eighth-inning blast from CJ Abrams, who turned on a Tommy Kahnle changeup and bounced it off the right-field pole for the game-winner.
The Yankees (60-65) fell to 10 games back of the Mariners for the final AL wild-card spot before Seattle finished play at the White Sox.
After Abrams’ homer, the Yankees went quietly to another loss in a season in which they usually have gone quietly.
Game One of the future — after the Yankees called up, then started Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza — looked a lot like many of the first 124 games of the season.
Pereira went 0-for-3 with a walk and a defensive highlight in his major league debut. Peraza went 0-for-4 in his first MLB game since July 26.
The offense could do virtually nothing against Nationals starter Josiah Gray, a New Rochelle native who one-hit the Yankees for six innings before a trio of relievers finished the job.
Wasted was perhaps the best defensive game of the season, which helped Carlos Rodon pitch effectively — if not overpoweringly — for a season-best six innings, in which he allowed just one run.
The lefty, making his first start since Aug. 6, after which he hit the injured list with a groin strain, struggled to miss bats and did not appear to fool many Nationals hitters. But despite just one strikeout and three whiffs on 32 swings, his final line was impressive because his defense was impressive.
Yankees defenders repeatedly bailed out Rodon, whose only run allowed came on a ball his defense could not catch: a third-inning home run from Carter Kieboom.
Otherwise, he kept the ball in the yard, and his defense kept the Nationals off the base paths.
Each of the Yankees’ three outfielders recorded an assist over the fourth and fifth innings, throwing out a trio of baserunners trying to stretch singles into doubles. It was the first time the Yankees had three assists in the same game since July 15, 2007 — and they cut down the three within five Washington batters.
First it was Aaron Judge, who cut off a Keibert Ruiz fourth-inning hit in right-center, collected himself and threw a dart to Anthony Volpe. The shortstop dove at Ruiz, who had taken a circuitous route to avoid the tag, slid away from second base and was tagged out.
With two out and Stone Garrett on first later in the inning, Ildemaro Vargas smacked a hit toward the left-field line. Pereira reached the ball quickly and threw strong to Volpe, who relayed to Torres at second base for the final out of the inning.
The Nationals started the fifth inning the same way they ended the fourth. Alex Call hit a sinking liner to left-center that Harrison Bader appeared to catch on a terrific dive, but it was ruled a trap. Bader got to his feet and threw out Call at second anyway.
The Yankees finally gave their fans something to cheer about. But such, suddenly, are the standards for this team: At least they entertained on one side of the ball in another dreary defeat.