Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/4/12

Russell Martin has struggled all season at the plate, but his work behind the dish has helped him feel like a contributor for the first-place New York Yankees.

On Tuesday, Martin had a difficult night offensively and defensively, playing a major role in the Yankees' 7-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Martin committed a pair of errors, including a dropped ball at the plate on what would have been the final out of the third inning. Elliot Johnson wound up scoring on the play, extending the inning, and the Rays scored three times to tie the game.

"It's a tough one," Martin said. "Offensively, I've been pretty bad all year. But defensively, it's normally there to salvage. Today was just a bad day overall. I kind of just have to put it behind me. This one is definitely a tough one for me. I felt like this is pretty much my loss. If I make that play in the third inning, it's a different ballgame."

Martin, who was charged with a throwing error in the seventh on a double steal that gave the Rays another run, also went 0-for-4, making the final out of the game on a strikeout against Fernando Rodney.

Martin is mired in an 0-for-23 skid, collecting only four hits in his last 50 at-bats to drop his average to .182.

"I'm probably expanding the zone a little too much, not being patient," Martin said. "I don't know when's the last time I walked, but that's normally a big part of my game. I'm probably being a little overaggressive, trying to get three hits in one at-bat. It doesn't happen that way. I'm going to just keep battling."

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