Yankees 15, Tigers 5
“Weird,” Posada said with a smile. “I mean, it was good because we won the game, but it wasn’t pretty.”
Posada hit a grand slam and drove in a career-high seven runs, and the Yankees overcame four errors in a 15-5 rout of the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night. The Tigers also made four errors and used seven pitchers.
“It was ugly, no question, for both sides,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “But those things happen sometimes.”
Hideki Matsui homered and drove in three runs, and Nick Johnson also homered, but made three of the Yankees’ defensive miscues. New York won its fourth straight and remained 3 1/2 games ahead of Boston in the AL East.
Andy Pettitte (18-8) labored through six innings, allowing four runs—two earned—and struck out seven and walked three. He rebounded from a rough outing against Boston last Friday, when he gave up eight earned runs and nine hits in 2 1-3 innings in a 9-3 loss.
“The big thing was obviously that they scored some runs early for me,” Pettitte said. “Detroit came back, but I still felt good and then they gave me a few extra runs to work with.”
Posada, 3-for-4 with a walk, hit his sixth career grand slam off Brian Schmack into the bleachers in right-center in the eighth inning. The Tigers made three errors in the inning.
“A lot of things happened,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “It just wasn’t a very good baseball game. I don’t think I could even describe everything, but I don’t think it was anything anybody could be happy about.”
Detroit finished with four errors, including three by first baseman Carlos Pena, and lost its fifth straight.
“We were sloppy and I can tolerate a lot of things,” Trammell said. “But when we’re sloppy, I’m not happy. We certainly contributed some things that made it easier for them.”
At 37-107, the Tigers need six wins in their final 18 games to avoid matching the post-1900 record of 120 losses in a season set by the 1962 New York Mets.
The Yankees gave Gary Knotts (3-6) a quick indication of how difficult a night he’d have, scoring four times against the rookie right-hander in the first.
Alfonso Soriano hit a leadoff single and stole second, and Johnson walked. Bernie Williams walked two outs later to load the bases. Posada hit a two-run single to make it 2-0, and Matsui followed with a two-run double.
Johnson made it 5-0 in the second with his 12th homer.
Detroit got four runs back in the third, helped by some sloppy defense.
Ramon Santiago and Alex Sanchez drew one-out walks. Danny Klassen shattered his bat on a comebacker to the mound, and Pettitte fielded the ball and turned to second, but his throw was wide and went into center field, allowing a runner to score.
Pena hit what looked to be an inning-ending grounder to first, but the ball went under Johnson’s glove and two runs scored as the ball trickled into right field.
“We’re winning 5-0 and all of the sudden, it’s 5-4, but then it turned into a laugher eventually,” Torre said. “I think the three walks that inning probably bothered me more than Nick’s error.”
The Yankees broke it open in the fourth with five runs.
Matsui hit a leadoff homer, his 16th, giving New York a 6-4 lead. Aaron Boone singled, Karim Garcia reached on an error by Pena at first base and Johnson walked one out later to load the bases. Derek Jeter followed with an RBI single, ending Knotts’ night.
“When guys walk guys, that’s kind of the ticket to make a change,” Trammell said. “I just didn’t want to see another guy get on base without hitting his way on.”
But Chris Spurling came in and Williams turned around and batted lefty and drew a walk to make it 9-4. Posada grounded out to drive in another run.
Knotts allowed 10 runs—eight earned—and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings.
Boone hit a solo homer, his second with the Yankees—and 20th overall—in the seventh to make it 11-4.
Shane Halter homered in the ninth for Detroit.
Jeter was replaced by Enrique Wilson in the eighth after he was hit in the lower back by a pitch from Schmack. Torre said Jeter was fine after the game. … The Yankees also made four errors on June 30 in a 6-5 win at Baltimore. The Tigers’ four were a season high. … Pettitte’s strikeout of Dmitri Young in the third was the 1,258th of his career, moving him pastYankees pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre for fifth on the team’s list.