Yankees 10, Tigers 3
Swept by the New York Mets over the weekend, the Yankees bolted to a 7-0 lead in the second inning on Rodriguez’s three-run homer. The Tigers lost their fifth in a row and their temper, too—reliever Esteban Yan was ejected for throwing over Rodriguez’s head.
“It was coming straight at my eyes,” Rodriguez said. “I was shocked.”
Rodriguez hit his 20th homer, connecting off Nate Robertson (7-4) in the second. Rodriguez hip-hopped down the line, hoping the ball would stay fair, and he flipped his bat when it hooked inside the left-field foul pole.
The next time up, Rodriguez needed to duck away from Yan’s fastball. Plate umpire Mark Wegner immediately tossed Yan, who did not put up much of an argument.
Yan pleaded innocent.
“I’m trying to make him move. You have to use everything you have out there,” he said.
Said Rodriguez: “I’m actually pretty friendly with him. I wouldn’t read too much into it.”
Tigers manager Alan Trammell talked to Wegner and tried to make a case for Yan.
“I was hoping maybe they would just warn him, but he felt after a homer, that was it,” he said.
Rodriguez had to back away from Al Levine’s fastball in his next at-bat, though that one appeared to be accidental.
Jason Giambi, who hadn’t started since June 26 because of intestinal parasites, put the Yankees ahead with an RBI single in the first. New York scored six more times in the second, and gone were the struggles it had at Shea Stadium.
“I think we were a little deflated for those three games after the Boston series,” Rodriguez said.
Jon Lieber (6-5) pitched shutout ball into the seventh.
“It’s good to get back on track like we did today,” he said.
Robertson had been 5-0 in his previous eight starts, and opponents were hitting only .220 against him—the best mark in the American League. The Yankees wrecked that stat, tagging him for eight hits and seven runs in just 1 2-3 innings.
It was a real letdown in a lot of ways. I let the team down. I’ve been the guy who has been able to pick us up after a bad loss. I was in a position to do that again today, but I was unable to do it,” Robertson said.
Rodriguez began the game in a 1-for-21 slump and with a twinge in his lower back, but his infield hit with two outs in the first set up Giambi’s single.
Williams hit a two-run double, Rodriguez homered and Hideki Matsui had an RBI in the second. Sheffield hit No. 14 in the fourth and Williams hit his 11th homer in the fifth and Sierra connected in the eighth.
Lieber had not walked the leadoff man in 236 innings before Pena drew a base on balls to start the third. Lieber’s streak dated to September 2001. … Young’s streak of eight straight games with an extra-base hit ended. … Yankees SS Derek Jeter got a warm ovation before his first at-bat. In his previous game at Yankee Stadium last Thursday against Boston, he went flying headfirst into the stands after catching a popup and ended up in a hospital. … Orlando Hernandez pitched seven sharp innings for the Yankees’ Triple-Ateam in Columbus, giving up two runs and five hits while striking out five.