The New York Yankees kept their season alive by dismantling the Tigers 10-1 Tuesday night at Comerica park in Detroit. The game, which was competitive for a while got ugly real fast in the eighth inning when the Yankees scored six times. With the win, the Yankees force the Tigers to return to the Bronx, and play a do-or-die game five.
Despite the fact the Yankees scored double-digit runs, the keys to their win didn’t have much to do with hitting. As a matter of fact, it was AJ Burnett’s arm and Curtis Granderson’s glove that were the big story for New York.
A.J. Burnett, who has built the reputation of being a gas-can came through big time for the Yanks, going 5.2 innings allowing only a run on four hits while striking out three. Ironically, he barely made it out of the first inning.
After Rick Porcello sent the Yanks down in order in the first, Burnett had serious issues finding the plate in the bottom half of the frame. He walked Austin Jackson to lead things off – got two outs, then proceeded to walk the bases loaded. In a curious move by Tiger’s manager Jim Leyland to bat Don Kelly sixth, Kelly sent a laser directly over the head of Curtis Granderson who was playing a very shallow center-field. Granderson initially took a step in, then realized how hard the ball was hit. But Granderson recovered, leaping in the air to snag the ball, easily saving three runs. The play ended up changing the entire scope of the game, and the crowd was quiet most of the night afterwards.
Burnett settled down after that. He found his control, his curveball, and frustrated the Tiger hitters for the remainder of his outing.
The Yankees drew first blood in the third, when the recently criticized captain Derek Jeter doubled in Jorge Posada and Russell Martin to make it 2-0 Yankees. New York would never relinquish the lead.
Victor Martinez led off the fourth with a solo blast to right, making it 2-1, but that was as close as it was going to get.
New York wasted little time building back their lead, as Russell Martin and Brett Gardner led off the fifth with singles. Then with one out, Curtis Granderson doubled off the wall in right plating Martin. Alex Rodriguez then hit a sac-fly to center to make it 4-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, Austin Jackson led things off with a single, but the following batter Ramon Santiago hit a ball sharply right at Robinson Cano that turned into a huge double play. This was a demoralizing play for Detroit, as it served as a real rally killer in their hopes of getting back into the game.
The Tigers hung in until the top of the eighth. That’s when all hell broke loose. The inexperience of the Tigers’ pen showed, and the Yankees’ bats came alive scoring six times to put the game well out of reach.
Detroit could never catch a break in this game. Rick Porcello pitched valiantly, the Tiger hitters put some good swings on the ball, but in the end, the Yankees just outplayed them.