Seeking their longest home winning streak in more than 60 years, the Detroit Tigers have a big obstacle standing in their way.
Detroit (60-50) pulled within one-half game of AL Central-leading Chicago with Tuesday's 6-5 victory over the Yankees. The Tigers matched a season high with a sixth straight win overall, and improved to 13-6 since July 18.
"We're doing exactly what we want to do,'' catcher Alex Avila said.
It's safe to assume New York isn't.
The Yankees (63-46) have lost 12 of 18, causing their lead over second-place Baltimore to shrink to 4 1/2 games - the first time it's been less than five since June 29.
The Tigers are closing in the White Sox thanks to a 16-1 record in the Motor City since July 4. They've outscored opponents 68-28 during their 10-game winning streak there, and are trying to win 11 straight in Detroit for the first time since August 1949.
Cabrera, who homered in his third straight game Tuesday while also driving in three runs, has been instrumental to the home winning streak, batting .385 with six home runs and 13 RBIs.
"Nothing Miggy does surprises me anymore,'' Avila said. "I'll only be surprised if he's not the MVP. He's unbelievable.''
Cabrera is crushing Yankees pitching this season, hitting .355 with five homers and 11 RBIs in eight games, but is 1 for 7 lifetime against Sabathia (11-3, 3.53 ERA), who pitched a three-hitter and struck out 10 in Friday's 6-3 win over Seattle.
"You always want a game like this, just to go out and throw the ball well and have everything working," the left-hander told the Yankees' official website. "It felt good, and hopefully I can just keep it going."
Sabathia, who hasn't lost since June 7 against Tampa Bay, has won both of his outings against Detroit this year. In his last start versus the Tigers on June 1, the six-time All-Star allowed three runs over seven innings of a 9-4 victory to snap a four-start losing streak at Comerica Park in which he had a 7.56 ERA.
Prince Fielder, who went 0 for 4 Tuesday after batting .588 with three home runs in his previous five games, is 2 for 5 with a homer this year against Sabathia, his former teammate in Milwaukee.
The Yankees made things interesting Tuesday, scoring twice off Detroit closer Jose Valverde in the ninth inning and having runners at second and third before Curtis Granderson popped up to end the game.
Granderson, New York's leader with 29 homers, finished 0 for 5 for the second straight game, and is batting .119 with 18 strikeouts in his last 10. The three-time All-Star center fielder, like a number of his teammates, will get his first look at Anibal Sanchez (1-1, 4.50) on Wednesday.
This will be Sanchez's first outing against the Yankees since his major league debut June 25, 2006, when he allowed seven hits over 5 2-3 innings of a 5-0 win for Florida.
Acquired from the Marlins two weeks ago, Sanchez had a rough debut with the Tigers on July 28, permitting five runs and eight hits - including three homers - in six innings of a 5-1 loss at Toronto. The right-hander looked a bit more comfortable against slumping Cleveland on Friday, allowing two runs - one earned - and scattering eight hits over six innings of a 10-2 victory.
- Detroit Tigers
- Miguel Cabrera
- Comerica Park