In his first game back with Detroit, the Tigers looked nothing like the sinking team that hadn’t won in over a week.
Sizemore had three hits, and slumping teammates Austin Jackson(notes) and Magglio Ordonez(notes) added two apiece to help Detroit snap a seven-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
“That’s always what you’re looking to do—contribute early on,” said Sizemore, who was called up from Triple-A Toledo to try to bolster the top of the Tigers’ struggling lineup. “That’s a pretty good start for the 1-2-3 in the lineup.”
Sizemore hit .224 in limited duty with Detroit last year, and he failed to win the second base job during spring training this season. But he was hitting .408 with Toledo when the Tigers decided to give him another chance.
The move paid off immediately. Jackson, the leadoff man, hit a double and a triple, improving his average to .197. Sizemore, batting behind him, hit a double and two singles.
Even Ordonez added a couple hits to lift his average to .169.
“I’m not going to sit here tonight and say, ‘Hey, we’re out of our little slump,”’ manager Jim Leyland said. “That’s foolish. But I am going to say that I do believe in contagious. … I think the guys were really pumped up for Magglio. Maggs had a smile on his face.”
Brad Penny(notes) (2-3) pitched six strong innings without allowing an earned run for the Tigers. Daniel Schlereth(notes) pitched the seventh and eighth, and Jose Valverde(notes) finished for his sixth save.
Jackson led off the first inning for the Tigers with a ground-rule double down the left-field line. Sizemore followed with a double to right-center, although Jackson only advanced to third because he was tagging up, thinking the ball might be caught.
Penny appeared in trouble early as the Yankees put two runners on in each of the first two innings, but New York didn’t score until the fourth, when Sizemore made an error that led to an unearned run. Detroit escaped further damage that inning when Brett Gardner(notes) lined out to shallow right, and Casper Wells(notes) threw out Andruw Jones(notes) at the plate to end the threat.
Penny allowed six hits, walked two and struck out one.
“They had me on the hook,” Penny said. “I’m (around) 50 pitches in the second inning, so I’ve got to come over the plate. I have no choice. Luckily they were pounding it in the ground tonight. … It’s a tough lineup. You’ve got to work.”
The Tigers added two runs in the fifth. Jackson hit an RBI triple to the left-field corner with one out, and Sizemore followed with a sharp single to right. Detroit later loaded the bases, but Ryan Raburn(notes) struck out and Jhonny Peralta(notes) hit a soft comebacker to the mound.
Offense hasn’t been Detroit’s only problem. At least four members of the Tigers’ taxed bullpen were deemed unavailable before the game by Leyland. That left Schlereth to pitch two innings, but although Mark Teixeira(notes) hit a solo homer in the eighth, New York couldn’t mount a sustained rally.
Valverde then pitched a hitless ninth, one night after taking the loss in New York’s 5-3 win over the Tigers.
The Yankees gave Penny some help in the sixth with some questionable baserunning. Robinson Cano(notes) was on first when a pitch momentarily got away from catcher Alex Avila(notes). Cano started toward second but then held up and ended up in a rundown after Avila retrieved the ball. He was tagged out.
“It is impossible to say exactly how it affects the game, but you can’t make foolish outs. Robby’s was a good read, but you can’t stop—you have to keep going. Georgie’s just can’t happen,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Andruw’s was a smart play, but they made a great throw and Avila made a great play to block the plate.”
NOTES: Teixeira’s homer was his eighth of the season. … Cano played after sitting out Monday’s game with a left hand injury. … Yankees RHP Carlos Silva(notes) is scheduled to make his first start for Class-A Tampa on Wednesday night. The right-hander was released by the Chicago Cubs during spring training and agreed to a minor league contract with New York on April 9.