It wasn't exactly pretty, but a win is a win, and after a pair of losses to open the season, the Tigers would take it any way they could to avoid the opening series sweep.
The Tigers jumped out to an early lead thanks to a Miguel Cabrera two run homer, but the Yankees quickly matched that, and thus became the power chess match of the day, with the Tigers jumping out and the Yankees trying to power their way back into the game.
Max Scherzer struggled his way through five innings to secure the victory, but allowed six runs on nine hits, including four home runs. Of course, two of those home runs were those that would have only gone out in Yankee Stadium, with its incredibly friendly confines.
Scherzer exited with a one run lead, and the Tigers quickly provided a couple more insurance runs, and the bullpen took it from there. Phil Coke tossed two strong innings, allowing just one run, while Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde each tossed a scoreless inning of relief, with Valverde earning his first save. Austin Jackson also deserves a hat tip from the bullpen, making a couple of big grabs in center to help keep runs off the board.
Any time a player goes 3-for-5 with a pair of two run homers, you'd think he'd be a no brainer for the star of the game, however, not on Sunday. While Cabrera's homers were big, Brennan Boesch takes home the crown on this day. Hitting in the three hole in place of Magglio Ordonez, Boesch went 4-for-4 including a two run homer, drove in four runs total and scored four times himself. Boesch is still a reserve player for the club, but hitting is obviously going to be his key to playing time, and the more he hits like this, the more at-bats he's going to see.
Three AB's Of The Game
Three AB's Of The Game
Top 1, Phil Hughes (RHP) vs. Miguel Cabrera (RHB)
Cabrera came up with a man on and two outs in the first and quickly got the Tigers on the board with a monster home run to left center field. After fouling off the first two pitches and then taking a ball, Hughes tried to come back to Cabrera with a curve. Only this time, Hughes tossed a spinner, leaving a mid-80's meatball out over the heart of the plate. That's dangerous to do against any hitter – against Cabrera, it's a recipe for a home run trot, and that's exactly what happened as Cabrera parked one 414 feet away.
Bottom 3, Max Scherzer (RHP) vs. Robinson Cano (LHB)
After giving up a home run to Teixeira, who was a Tigers killer all series long, Scherzer was able to retire Alex Rodriguez on strikes, bringing Cano to the plate. Cano hit a fairly deep fly ball to right field, but one that is contained by just about every other ballpark in America. Unfortunately, Yankee Stadium doesn't have the same standards, and a routine fly ball down the line in right cleared the fence on the first pitch for a 329-foot home run. It was a cheap home run, indicative of the small park the Yankees now feature, and something that shouldn't be cause for concern, because it's unlikely to happen anywhere else in baseball.
Bottom 8, Joaquin Benoit (RHP) vs. Derek Jeter (RHB) The Standings
With a man on and one out, Derek Jeter came to the plate as the potential tying run, as Benoit was protecting a two run lead. After getting a first pitch strike to get ahead in the count, Benoit induced just the hit he was looking for, a tailor-made double play ball to second base that should have gotten him out of the inning. Jhonny Peralta was unable to make a strong throw to first on the turn to complete the double play, but in most cases that pitch would have ended the inning, and it's that sort of ability which is why the Tigers went out and gave him $16.5 million.
1-2, tied for 3rd in the AL Central