DETROIT -- It had to be the biggest out Omir Santos has ever made.
Santos lofted a sacrifice fly to right with one out and the bases loaded in the ninth inning Saturday night to give the Detroit Tigers a 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees.
Santos was in the lineup only because original starter Alex Avila woke up Saturday morning with hamstring tightness that didn't go away during pre-game workouts. The only other viable alternative, Gerald Laird, felt some hamstring tightness beating out a single Friday night.
If both Avila and Laird had been healthy, there's a good chance Santos would have been designated for assignment and sent back to Toledo if he'd cleared waivers.
But Santos stepped up and hit an 0-1 pitch deep enough to Nick Swisher in right that Brennan Boesch was able to get home with the winning run.
Boesch singled to right with one out in the ninth and went to third when slumping Jhonny Peralta lined a single to right.
New York changed from David Phelps, a right-hander, to lefty Boone Logan when manager Jim Leyland opted to pinch-hit his only usable sub, switch-hitting Ramon Santiago, who was walked intentionally to bring up the light-hitting Santos. The backup catcher was 1-for-5 in less than a week.
The sacrifice fly made a winner of Jose Valverde, who was backed up to the edge of the cliff but couldn't be pushed over. The Yankees stole three bases on Valverde, who hit two batters and walked in the tying run.
"Everybody was getting good counts to hit in," Russell Martin said. "We knew we were getting fastballs but we couldn't square up on them."
Miguel Cabrera hit two monster home runs for Detroit to dead center, one in the fourth for the first run of the game and the second, his 11th of the season, with two out in the eighth to break a 2-2 tie.
Swisher tied it, 2-2, with a line single to right in the eighth to score Mark Teixeira from second.
Hitting coach Kevin Long and manager Joe Girardi were ejected in the top of the seventh with runners on second and third, one out and Curtis Granderson at the plate.
Reliever Joaquin Benoit's first pitch to Granderson was a low changeup that was called a strike, which Long apparently complained about. Granderson then hit a foul ball into the stands near the New York dugout and Long said something when home plate umpire Bob Davidson followed the play.
"You can't probably assume he (Long) didn't like the call," Girardi said. "On the foul popup into the stands he (Davidson) said, 'Don't talk to me that way.' To me, he should have turned and went the other way.
"If the ball goes the other way (to the Detroit dugout), things probably would have been OK. It shouldn't happen. To me, their job is to keep the peace. We play with a lot of emotion. Winning or losing means everything to us. The only thing they have to do is their job."
Girardi came out and threw his cap on the ground as he engaged the umpires in argument. Granderson fanned on the next pitch and Alex Rodriguez to pop a 3-2 pitch to second to end the threat.
Robinson Cano reached third in the sixth and scored on a one-out groundout to third by Raul Ibanez.
Quintin Berry's RBI single in the fifth gave Detroit a 2-0 lead. Don Kelly robbed Teixeira of a home run in the fourth when he timed his leap perfectly and was able to grab the first baseman's flyball, which was headed into the Tigers' bullpen.
NOTES: Play was halted for 39 minutes because of rain with a runner on third and one out in the bottom of the first. Cabrera fouled out to first on the first pitch Hiroki Kuroda threw following the delay. ... Cuban-born OF Jorge Soler, 20, has been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball and must be signed before July 2 or be subject to new baseball signing guidelines limiting teams to $2.9 million in total international signing expenditures. The Yankees are expected to be among those interested in Soler. Several Cubans training in the Dominican Republic are now free agents. ... The Yankees are 3-0 this season against starters making their major league debut after defeating Tigers lefty Casey Crosby 9-4 Friday night. ... Baseball's annual draft takes place Monday-Wednesday. The Yankees have the 30th pick in the first round and will get three of the first 94 players chosen. Contrast this with Detroit, which lost its first-round selection for the signing of 1B Prince Fielder and chooses 91st overall.