Contreras, Giambi Keep Tigers At Bay

Jose Contreras (2-1) showed off the skill that made the Yankees sign him after defecting from Cuba. Contreras, making his first start in the major leagues held Detroit scoreless through seven innings, as the Yankees dismantled the Tigers 6-0.

Jason Giambi homered twice in the game to lead the Yankees offense, a two-run shot in the first inning that gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead, then a solo homer in the eighth to put the Bombers up by six.

Contreras, taking over David Wells' spot in the rotation while Wells nurses an injured calf, made his pitch to perhaps make his spot in the Yankees starting rotation a little more permanent. He allowed just two hits and one walk over his seven innings of work, striking out six Tigers on the way to his first win as a starter, and second win as a major leaguer.

The Cuban was also extremely economical, using just 81 pitches in the seven innings, or a little over three pitches per batter. Contreras' seven shutout innings lowered his ERA to a career-best 5.40.

Derek Jeter added two hits and a pair of RBI out of the leadoff spot, where he has thrived so far this season. Since moving to the top spot in the order, Jeter is batting .363 with a .414 on-base percentage.

The Yankees bullpen shined again Friday night. Antonio Osuna and Chris Hammond each pitched a scoreless inning, allowing one run each and striking out a combined three batters.

Contreras' strong start may help move him into the rotation and Jeff Weaver into the bullpen, something owner George Steinbrenner has been pushing for recently. Weaver has underachieved so far this season, and may be losing his hold on the fifth starter's slot. Weaver will pitch Saturday against his former team, in what could end up being a final audition to keep his job.

The Yankees have won three straight games and have also moved back into first place in the AL East by a half of a game after Boston lost 13-2 against Toronto. The win streak is the longest for the Yankees since April 30 – May 2, almost a month ago. Detroit has now lost three straight.

Giambi's three-hit night helped raise his average to .230, the highest its been since April 4, the fourth game of the season.

The game was delayed for 44 minutes in the fifth inning.

Weaver (3-3, 5.31) will face off against Adam Bernero (0-6, 6.03) on Friday at 1:05 pm in game two of this three-game series.

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