The fifth-starter battle continued to fizzle as the Yankees needed a two-run ninth-inning homer from Greg Golson to pull out a 9-8 victory over the Tigers, who scored seven combined runs off Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes in the third and fourth innings.
L – Curtis Granderson (CF)
L – Nick Johnson (DH)
S – Mark Teixeira (1B)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
R – Marcus Thames (RF)
L – Brett Gardner (LF)
R – Mike Rivera (C)
R – Jorge Vazquez (3B)
S – Ramiro Peña (SS)
Subs: Juan Miranda (1B), Kevin Russo (2B), Reegie Corona (SS), Eduardo Nuñez (3B), Austin Romine (C), Jamie Hoffmann (RF), Greg Golson (CF), David Winfree (LF), Colin Curtis (DH)
Pitchers: Joba Chamberlain (2 1/3), Phil Hughes (2 2/3), Jason Hirsh (1), Andrew Brackman (1), Grant Duff (1), Ryan Pope (1)
Big Hits: A game-winning two-run homer by Greg Golson (1-for-2) in the ninth. A solo homer by Mark Teixeira (2-for-3, BB) off former Yankee gopherballer Phil Coke. Doubles by Jorge Vazquez (1-for-2), Mike Rivera (1-for-3), and Jamie Hoffmann (1-for-2). Curtis Granderson singled twice and walked in four trips. David Winfree singled in both of his at-bats. Brett Gardner had a walk and a bunt single in three trips and scored twice.
Who Pitched Well: Jason Hirsh pitched around an error for an otherwise perfect sixth inning, striking out two. Ryan Pope pitched around a single, striking out two in a scoreless ninth, picking up the save. Grant Duff pitched around a single for a scoreless eighth. Phil Hughes gave up a solo homer to Ryan Rayburn and a pair of singles, but in contrast to Joba Chamberlain, his 2 2/3 innings, which included a pair of punchouts and no walks, looked sparkling.
Who Didn’t: Joba Chamberlain got through two scoreless innings allowing just a single and a walk, but melted down in the third. Before he could record a second out in that frame, he gave up six runs on three walks and five hits including a grand slam by Gerald Laird, older brother of Yankee camper Brandon Laird. Chamberlain said he felt fatigued in that third inning, but he also struck out just one of the 15 batters he faced in the game (Austin Jackson on a changeup). Compared to that, Phil Hughes looked fantastic, and he did strike out two against no walks, but also he gave up a solo homer to Ryan Rayburn, two other singles, and needed a spectacular catch from Curtis Granderson to escape the fourth inning without further damage. Joe Girardi said before the game that this was the last “tune-up” start for Chamberlain and Hughes before the fifth-starter competition would begin in earnest. Both should be please by that as Joba has struggled in both of his starts (though he had the flu as an excuse for the first), and Hughes has underwhelmed despite better overall results. LoHud’s Sam Borden provides some explanation for those disappointing performances.
Nice Plays: Curtis Granderson made a running, over-the-shoulder catch on a deep drive by Miguel Cabrera, catching it just shy of the wall, more than 400 feet from home plate. That catch saved Phil Hughes from what could have been an ugly fourth inning. Sadly, the game wasn’t televised, but Borden was so impressed by the catch he dedicated a whole post to it after the game.
Oopsies: Jamie Hoffmann made an error in right field.
Ouchies: Francisco Cervelli caught Andy Pettitte’s bullpen session.
Other: Johnny Damon was out of the Tigers’ lineup after stubbing his toe at home. Austin Jackson played center and led off for Detroit and singled and struck out in four at-bats. Teixeira’s homer was the only blemish on Phil Coke‘s one inning of work.