Bronx, NY—The excitement of the return of Alex Rodriguez to Yankee Stadium for the first time since October drew a sell-out of 46,545 on Friday night. Love him or hate him, the desire to see A-Rod on the field at Yankee Stadium attracted only the fourth sell-out of the 2013 season.
The fourth walk-off win of the year on Friday brought hope to Yankees fans, who again packed the house with 45,728 on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the Bronx. To their disappointment, the Yankees did not win and Rodriguez did not play.
The result of the top of the first inning brought an unsettling feeling to many of the oft-disappointed Yankee rooters. The presence of Phil Hughes on the mound did not add a feeling of confidence to the fans present.
A former minor league phenom in the Yankees organization, Austin Jackson, led off Saturday’s game with a triple to center. The next batter, Torii Hunter, drove the speedy Jackson across the plate with a sacrifice fly to center.
Not surprising to anyone in the stadium Miguel Cabrera hit a solo home run to left on a 0-1 pitch in the third. The player most fans, regardless of team, consider the best player in the majors today hit his 35th round tripper and his 109th RBI. Cabrera’s skipper, Jim Leyland, a 50 year veteran in baseball, commented upon his superlative player, “It’s hard to believe, really, what we’re seeing, to be honest.”
The above two Tigers contributed to the four run fifth inning. Jackson led off the parade of hits with his ninth homer of his season shortened by one month on the disabled list. A single by Hunter terminated Hughes’s outing.
The offensive onslaught continued against reliever Preston Claiborne. Cabrera’s third hit of the game was a single. With two out, Victor Martinez doubled in a run and Don Kelly followed with a two-run single.
Hughes left the game after surrendering four runs in 4.1 innings. He walked off the field to the sound of resounding jeers. The two homers he yielded raised his yearly total to 22 in 22 starts. Another reason for the removal at that moment was the next batter he was to face was Cabrera, who had a .560 batting average against Hughes (14 for 25). He had also hit successfully off the righty in his last seven at bats.
After the game, the starter admitted, “It was never like I was really comfortable out there. I was always working out of tough situations. That’s what led to the high pitch count.” Hughes threw 99 pitches in 4.1 innings.
The offensive assault continued against reliever Preston Claiborne. Cabrera’s third hit of the game was a single. With two out, Victor Martinez doubled in one run and was followed by a single by Don Kelly that drove in the third and fourth tallies of the inning.
The final three Detroit runs came on a three-run homer by Torii Hunter in the sixth off Joba Chamberlain.
Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez retired the first nine batters he faced. He gave up only two hits in the fourth and two in the fifth during his seven inning stint. This was the eighth of his 20 starts in which he has yielded four hits or less and the 11th in which he has fanned at least eight.
The veteran hurler Justin Verlander aptly summed up his team’s strength, “I think that this is the team that we want to be. Right now, I think we’re pitching well, we’re hitting well and we’re playing good defense.” It’s not surprising the Tigers are currently 23 games above .500.
The Yankee offense was named Lyle Overbay. He knocked in all three Yankees tallies. He hit a two-run homer in the fifth and the final run with a single in the ninth.
The finale of the three game set on Sunday afternoon will have Andy Pettitte (7-9) and Justin Verlander (12-8) in the starting roles.