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Yankees 4, Tigers 3

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- Baseball's top sluggers flexed their muscles once again to help the New York Yankees win their second game in a row.

Mark Teixeira and Eric Chavez homered off Detroit Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit on consecutive eighth-inning pitches, propelling the Yankees to a 4-3 victory at Comerica Park Thursday. The Yankees have a major-league-leading 172 homers this season, including eight back-to-back blasts.

Detroit, which has lost two straight following a six-game winning streak, dropped one game behind the American League Central Division-leading Chicago White Sox.

The game was delayed a half-hour by rain.

Both starters, the Yankees' Hiroki Kuroda and the Tigers' Doug Fister, pitched 6 1/3 innings and got no-decisions. Clay Rapada (3-0) retired two batters in the seventh with a man on second to get the victory.

Rafael Soriano survived a shaky ninth to record the last four outs and pick up his 27th save. Soriano retired Jhonny Peralta on a deep fly to right with Prince Fielder on second base to end the eighth.

Alex Avila, who homered in the fifth, led off the bottom of the ninth with a double just inside the left-field line. Omar Infante hit a single to advance pinch-runner Gerald Laird to third before Soriano retired Ramon Santiago on a soft liner. Quintin Berry then popped out to shorstop Derek Jeter and Andy Dirks flied out to centerfielder Curtis Granderson.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected by third-base umpire and crew chief Tim Welke in the bottom of the fifth. Girardi was upset the way Welke signaled to left fielder Raul Ibanez regarding Dirks' bloop double that hit the left-field line. The ball bounced past Ibanez on the play, helping Quintin Berry to score from first to give Detroit a 3-2 lead.

Girardi was demonstrative during his tirade, throwing his hands up in the air and continuing the argument even after he was tossed. He threw his cap onto the infield before finally leaving in a huff. It was Girardi's second ejection this season, both at Comerica Park.

Avila tied the game 2-2 earlier in the inning when he pulled Kuroda's 3-2 pitch just inside the right-field foul pole. Avila's homer, which followed Peralta's leadoff double, was his seventh this season and extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

Kuroda had given up just four runs in his previous four outings, going 2-1 during that span including a hard-luck 1-0 loss to Felix Hernandez and the Mariners in his last start.

"He's been very consistent for us," Girardi said. "He's given us distance, he's given us quality starts and he's given us a chance to win every day. That's all you can ask from your starters."

Ibanez's second-inning triple over the head of Berry, who was filling for Austin Jackson at centerfielder, knocked in Chavez for the first run of the game. Ichiro Suzuki then poked an opposite-field single to left, driving home Ibanez for a 2-0 Yankees advantage.

NOTES: The Yankees are scheduled to face three left-handed starters in Toronto this weekend, which means additional playing time for outfielder Andruw Jones, who hasn't started since Aug. 1. "Jones is going to get a lot (of at-bats)," Girardi said. ... Suzuki's walk in the fourth inning was the first he's drawn since joining the Yankees and first overall since July 21 with the Mariners. ... Jackson has an 11-game hitting streak. .. With five hits in the first three games of the series, Detroit outfielder Brennan Boesch lifted his career average against the Yankees to .364 in 77 at-bats. ... The contract of INF/OF Don Kelly was out-righted to Toledo after he cleared waivers.
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