Curtis Granderson was having a rough time at the plate entering today's game. From July 28th through yesterday's game, he was mired in a 5-for-42 slump, a .119/.196/.190 triple slash at a time when his team really needed him to step up on offense while they were struggling as a whole. Thankfully, he decided that his ten-game streak of poor play had lasted quite long enough, especially after manager Joe Girardi shuffled the batting order and moved him from the leadoff spot to sixth. In a furious rage (but probably not), Granderson went 3-for-5 with a double and a homer.
The three-run dinger, his 30th of the year, came against recently-acquired Tiger starter Anibal Sanchez, who gave his team three innings of nothing today. Sanchez gave up seven runs on seven hits, earning an admirable Game Score of 17. That generally does not help the team win. Granderson was the wPA star of the game, improving his team's chance of winning by .265. Granderson's efforts gave his team a 7-0 lead, but the Tigers certainly made it interesting against Yankees ace CC Sabathia with a rally powered by a very strange seventh inning.
A string of doubles and singles in the fourth and sixth made the score 7-3, and after the Yankees tacked on another run in the top of the seventh inning, Detroit whittled the lead to just one run in a bizarre seventh inning. Austin Jackson singled to center, then moved to third base with one out when Casey McGehee mishandled a grounder from Miguel Cabrera (McGehee was playing his first game as a Yankee at the hot corner). Yet another grounder, this time toward first baseman Mark Teixeira was muffed but ruled a single, and Jackson scored. Girardi decided to remove Sabathia despite only 94 pitches from the big man, and reliever David Robertson was promptly greeted with three more ground-ball singles and an opposite-field two-run single by catcher Alex Avila to make the score 7-6. It was about the puniest four-run rally possible, but alas.
The Yankees needed to tack on a few more runs to ensure the victory, and their offense kept up the great work against Tigers pitching. Line drive singles by Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano against dearly-departed former Yank Phil Coke gave Tex a chance to bring some runs home, and he did just that. A single to left scored Swisher, then Cano crossed home plate on a ground-out by Eric Chavez, who apparently thinks the year is 2002 rather than 2012 (.462/.500/.885 in 28 plate appearances since July 30th). A pair of runs in the ninth after a surprising Omar Infante solo blast for Detroit gave the Yankees 12 runs on the day, and Rafael Soriano pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to finish the job. It was a great day all-around for the offense, as everyone in the starting lineup got a hit, and Granderson was joined by Derek Jeter, Swisher, Cano, Teixeira, and Chavez on the multi-hit parade for the game. Even Jayson Nix got a hit in his one at bat, and he entered the game in the eighth inning for defense.
The Yankees look to split the series in Detroit tomorrow as Hiroki Kuroda pitches for New York against Doug Fister.