There may be another kind of fireworks on display as the teams finish their four-game set.
Tempers have begun to flare after a series of incidents in the Bronx, but the Yankees would prefer to settle the score with a third consecutive victory Thursday afternoon.
It’s unclear if Alex Rodriguez(notes) will be able to play after missing the last two games with a calf injury, but the Yankees haven’t missed his bat. New York (74-46) has piled up 15 runs and five homers while winning consecutive games to keep pace with Tampa Bay, which is tied with the Yankees atop the AL East.
Robinson Cano(notes) and Curtis Granderson(notes) homered for the second straight night in Wednesday’s 9-5 victory, while the Yankees overcame three Detroit homers, including the second and third of the series by Miguel Cabrera(notes).
The barrage of home runs has been no surprise considering there have been more homers at Yankee Stadium than any ballpark this year, but the rising tensions were unexpected.
After Detroit’s Carlos Guillen(notes) was injured on a hard slide by Brett Gardner(notes) in Monday’s series opener, Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman(notes) hit Gardner with his first pitch Wednesday. Both benches were warned, but no players were ejected after the Yankees hit Cabrera and the Tigers threw behind Derek Jeter(notes) later in the game.
“There’s always concern that we have more to lose than the other team, but at the same time, you don’t want it,” Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira(notes) said. “I’ve seen guys break hands and get hit in the head and break ribs because of a stupid beanball war. You just don’t want to have that.”
Tigers manager Jim Leyland was the only man ejected after arguing with crew chief Eric Cooper.
“I’m not going to talk about that,” Leyland said. “I don’t discuss those things with anybody.”
Hughes, however, will be trying to snap a trend of alternating wins and losses that has lasted for seven starts. He pitched six innings in an 8-3 victory at Kansas City on Saturday, winning despite not recording a strikeout for the first time this season.
Porcello (5-10, 5.53) has gone 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in his last two outings, recovering after losing his previous six decisions on either side of a monthlong stint with Triple-A Toledo.
Each young right-hander pitched seven shutout innings May 12 in a win against Thursday’s opponent. Porcello kicked off the doubleheader by leading the Tigers to a 2-0 victory, while the Yankees salvaged a split with an 8-0 win behind Hughes.
New York will be looking to earn a split of the eight-game season series Thursday.
This week’s series has featured a pair of reunions, with Granderson going 5 for 10 with two homers and a double in his first meetings with the Tigers since they traded him to New York in December. He was injured when the teams squared off in May.