After putting up 13 runs against David Price yesterday, the Yankees' offense took a little break today. Today, the Yankees managed just two runs on three hits. That's usually not a good recipe for success, but today it was. That's because on the mound, the Yankees were pretty dominant. Masahiro Tanaka followed up his excellent start against the Rays with another excellent start today. Tanaka pitched 6.1 impressive innings before turning it over to the bullpen for another excellent 2.2 innings. The Tigers also just recorded three hits, but they only managed one run on theirs, and that was enough for the Yankees to win 2-1.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. Anthony Gose led off the game for the Tigers with a double down the left field line. Ian Kinsler followed that by grounding out, but it moved Gose to third. Miguel Cabrera then drew a walk, bringing Victor Martinez to the plate. Martinez flew out to shallow left field. Gose tagged up and scored easily after Brett Gardner's throw was off. Tanaka would strike out J.D. Martinez to end the inning, but it was 1-0 Tigers early.
Tanaka settled down after that, but the Yankees' offense struggled to get anything going against Anibal Sanchez. The Yankees squandered a chance with two on and one out in the third and it would be a while before they got another chance. Thankfully, Tanaka was keeping them in the game on the mound.
The Yankees finally did get another chance in the top of the sixth inning. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the inning with a walk. He manage to steal second during Gardner's at bat, which ended in a ground out that moved Ellsbury to third. Carlos Beltran couldn't bring Ellsbury home, as he struck out. That left it up to Brian McCann. Or we thought it left it up to McCann, because the Yankees did score the run, just in an unexpected way. Ellsbury was dancing off third and caused Sanchez to balk during his delivery. After an initial delay, the umpires eventually called the balk and Ellsbury scored to tie the game. Brad Ausmus came out of the dugout and argued, getting himself tossed. The argument was probably more for the delay in the umpries making the call more than the call itself, because it was definitely a balk. Anyway, the game was now tied at one.
After the Yankees missed an opportunity to take the lead in the top of the seventh, Tanaka came back out to pitch the bottom half of the inning. He got the first out, but after allowing a double to Martinez and a walk to Yoenis Cespedes, his day would be over. Tanaka went 6.1 innings, allowing one runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out six.
Justin Wilson came in to face Alex Avila, but the Tigers countered and sent up James McCann. McCann grounded one hard to third, but Chase Headley made a nice diving stop, getting the out a second after Gregorio Petit made a nice play to corral the slightly errant Headley throw. The Yankees then went back to the bullpen, bringing in Dellin Betances to try and get the third out. Nick Castellanos worked the count full, but Betances got him to pop out to first.
After surviving the seventh, the Yankees had a chance to take the lead in the eighth. Ellsbury led off the inning with a double, hustling to second on a hit that would've been just a single for most slower human beings. Gardner then bunted Ellsbury to third. The Tigers then opted for conventional wisdom and intentionally walked Beltran to set up the double play. That nearly worked when McCann grounded one to first. However, the grounder hit off Miguel Cabrera's glove, allowing Ellsbury to score to make it 2-1.
Betances pitched an impressive eighth inning before the Yankees turned it over to Andrew Miller for the ninth. Against the heart of the Tigers' lineup, Miller pitched a dominant 1-2-3 inning to seal a series win and a 2-1 win over the Tigers. The Yankees have now won six of their last seven. I approve of this.
The Yankees will now return home for a series against the Mets starting tomorrow. Michael Pineda and Jacob DeGrom will be the starters for the series opener, which will start at 7:05 eastern.