Hit Batters, Ejection Overshadow Yanks’ Romp Over Tigers

GAME 120
YANKEES 9, TIGERS 5

Brett Gardner was hit with the game’s first pitch, after hitting two home runs the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera was hit with the pitch eighth inning, Derek Jeter narrowly escaped getting plunked in the bottom of the eighth and Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland was ejected before the bottom of the eighth inning began.
In between the hit batters and ejection the New York Yankees pounded out three home runs as part of nine-hit attack as they defeated the Detroit Tigers 9-5 on Wednesday.
Mark Teixeira set the tone for the evening with a two-run home run to the second deck in right-field to score Gardner after he was hit by Tiger starter Jeremy Bonderman (6-9) in the first inning.
The pitch that hit Gardner seemed suspicious in that it was Gardner’s hard but clean slide into Carlos Guillen in the ninth inning of Monday’s game. Guillen was placed on the disabled list earlier in the day with a bruised left knee as a result of the slide. When asked about the slide by reporters Leyland claimed the play was a clean one.
However, home plate umpire and crew chief Eric Cooper immediately warned both teams that any further purpose pitches would result in the ejection of the offending pitcher and manager.
Play resumed and the Yankees built their lead to 3-0 when Robinson Cano followed Teixeira with a solo home run of his own.
The Yankees later extended their lead to 6-2 with three runs in the fourth inning, keyed by a RBI triple by Ramiro Pena and a RBI single by Gardner.
After the Tigers came back with a two-run home run from Don Kelly in the fifth inning, the Yankees answered with a Curtis Granderson solo home run to push the Yankee lead back to 7-4.
A two-out, two-run double by Austin Kearns in the seventh inning seemingly put the game away for the Yankees at 9-4.
However, Chad Gaudin began the eighth inning by hitting Cabrera with an 1-1 pitch. Cabrera had hit solo home runs in the second and fourth innings off Yankee starter and winning pitcher Dustin Moseley (3-2). 
Leyland immediately stormed out of the dugout to protest why Cooper was not going to eject Gaudin for what looked to be deliberately targeting the Tigers’ Most Valuable Player candidate. Though Leyland returned to the bench he did not stop yelling at Cooper from the visitors’ dugout at Yankee Stadium.
Gaudin promptly gave up a single to Johnny Damon and walked Jhonny Peralta on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases with no out.  David Robertson entered the game and, despite giving up a sacrifice fly to Brandon Inge, he retired the side to hold the Yankee lead at four runs.
Leyland was ejected at that point and then Tigers reliever Enrique Gonzalez tossed a pitch behind Jeter with one out in the eighth inning. Yankees manager Joe Girardi started out of the dugout but elected not to argue and the Gonzalez continued to walk Jeter, Teixeira and Cano before Swisher ended the inning by hitting into a double play.
Another wild night in the Bronx ended with the Yankees and Moseley victorious. Moseley only gave up five hits in five innings of work. But unfortunately for him, three of the hits were home runs that accounted for four runs.
The Yankees used six relievers, including Mariano Rivera in the ninth, to escape with the victory. Those relievers held the Tigers to just one run despite giving up five hits, one walk and that one hit batter.
With the victory the Yankees held on to their share of first place in the American League East with the Tampa Bay Rays. Both teams are 73-46. The Red Sox remain 5 1/2 games out in the third place.
The Tigers fell to 58-62 on the season.
PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Granderson is flat out mashing the baseball thanks to the help he received from hitting coach Kevin Long on his swing. In his last seven games, Granderson is 9-for-26 (.347) with three home runs and four RBIs. 
  • Entering the game 0 for his last 11 at-bats, Teixeira was 3-for-4, reached base in all five plate appearances, homered, singled and doubled, drove in two runs and scored two runs.
  • Kearns’ two-out, bases-loaded ground-rule double give him a six-game hitting streak in which he is 8-for-19 (.421). Kearns is hitting .333 for the Yankees since his trade deadline acquisition from the Cleveland Indians.
  • Ramiro Pena, starting his second game in place of Alex Rodriguez, is 2-for-6 with two RBIs in those two games.
NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Moseley is 3-2 in his five starts replacing Andy Pettitte but he also has an ERA of 4.97 in those starts and has given up seven home runs in his last four starts. His inability to keep the ball in the ballpark led to Girardi taking him out of the game in the fifth inning despite the fact he threw only 84 pitches.
  • Jeter was 0-for-4, including a walk and a strikeout, and he did not get a ball out the infield. His season average dipped to .276, 37 points below his career average.
  • Jorge Posada was the only other Yankee not to have a hit in the game. He was 0-for-3 with an intentional walk in the seventh inning. He is hitting only .182 this month with a home run and only two RBIs. 
  • Gaudin may have not meant to hit Cabrera in the ribs, but his inability to retire Damon and Peralta led to Girardi having to use Robertson and Rivera on a night when the manager should not have had to use them. With Damaso Marte and Alfredo Aceves about to come off the disabled list soon, Gaudin may be one of the casualties when they return.
BOMBER BANTER

Andy Pettitte is frustrated after an MRI on Tuesday revealed his strained left groin has not healed. It will be at least another week before Pettitte will be allowed to throw again and the timetable for his return from the 15-day disabled list is clouded.  . . .  Lance Berkman is still hobbling on a swollen right ankle but said he is available to pinch-hit. Berkman, who injured the ankle hitting the back of Bryan Bullington’s foot on a play at first base in Kansas City, hopes he may be able to DH this weekend.  . . .  Rodriguez’s strained calf muscle leaves him day-to-day. A similar injury to Jorge Posada cost the veteran catcher six days.
ON DECK

The Yankees can win the four-game series with the Tigers with a victory on Thursday.
Phil Hughes (14-5, 3.95 ERA) will make the start for the Yankees. Hughes won his 14th game in his last start, allowing three runs in six innings against the Royals despite giving up nine hits. He is 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA lifetime against the Tigers.
The Tigers will counter with right-hander Rick Porcello (5-10, 5.53 ERA), who pitched seven innings of solid baseball against the White Sox on Saturday. Porcello gave up only two runs but he did not get the decision in the Tigers’ victory. Porcello is 1-1 with a 5.66 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.
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