Tarik Skubal deals as Detroit Tigers complete sweep vs. New York Yankees with 6-2 win

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·5 min read
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Detroit Tigers third base coach Chip Hale tossed up both hands, instructing Miguel Cabrera to stop running in his pursuit to score from first base — something he hasn't done since 2019 — on Nomar Mazara's double to left field in the first inning.

Cabrera, however, did not stop.

The 38-year-old motored around the corner and scored easily, giving the Tigers a two-run lead in the first inning to propel them to a 6-2 victory Sunday and three-game sweep of the New York Yankees at Comerica Park.

The Tigers (22-31) have won three games in a row and four of their past five.

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Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera is waved around third to score from first on a double by Nomar Mazara to left field during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Sunday, May 30, 2021, in Detroit.
Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera is waved around third to score from first on a double by Nomar Mazara to left field during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Sunday, May 30, 2021, in Detroit.

Left-hander Tarik Skubal made sure the Yankees didn't get within striking distance, posting six scoreless innings. Skubal, 24, was efficient, throwing 22 pitches in the first inning, 21 in the second, eight in the third, 21 in the fourth, 13 in the fifth and 10 in the sixth.

He became the first rookie in franchise history to log three consecutive eight-plus strikeout performances. He struck out nine against the Seattle Mariners (May 19), nine against Cleveland (May 25) and eight against the Yankees.

Out of the bullpen, left-hander Derek Holland pitched a scoreless seventh inning. After righty Bryan Garcia gave up a two-out RBI single to Torres in the eighth, ex-starter Michael Fulmer took over for the final four outs. He allowed one of Garcia's runners to score in the eighth.

Fulmer loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth inning, but Aaron Judge struck out looking.

Cabrera had a chance to add to the runs against Yankees starter Michael King — a reliever making his first start this season — with the bases loaded and two outs in the second inning, but he grounded into a force out.

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Errors on errors

The momentum shifted in the third inning, as New York made three errors, walked two batters and allowed four unearned runs to gift the Tigers a 6-0 lead. King allowed four runs (two earned) on three hits and two walks across 2⅓ innings.

Shortstop Gleyber Torres accounted for two errors. Third baseman Gio Urshela made the other mistake.

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Detroit Tigers center fielder Niko Goodrum (28) safe at first base on a wild throw to New York Yankees first baseman Miguel Andujar (41) during the first inning at Comerica Park on May 30, 2021.
Detroit Tigers center fielder Niko Goodrum (28) safe at first base on a wild throw to New York Yankees first baseman Miguel Andujar (41) during the first inning at Comerica Park on May 30, 2021.

Combining those miscues with two walks, the Tigers tacked on four runs in the third. Jonathan Schoop scored because of Torres' first of two errors. The next three runs were courtesy of a Willi Castro double down the left-field line against Yankees reliever Nestor Cortes to clear the bases.

The Tigers left Castro standing on third base and Jeimer Candelario, who reached on Torres' second error, on first base. The third inning ended when Cabrera grounded out. He went 0-for-4 with one hit-by-pitch and one strikeout, lowering his batting average to .189 across 36 games.

Cortes finished the third and carried the Yankees through the sixth inning. He stranded the bases loaded in the sixth by striking out Eric Haase.

Scoreless Tarik Skubal

The Tigers avoided falling behind in the first inning, even after Skubal allowed a walk and a single. A double play, thanks to a nice snag at third base by Candelario, and a line-drive out stranded a New York runner at third base.

In the second, Skubal issued another walk but struck out Miguel Andujar and Tyler Wade to keep the Yankees from scoring. Clint Frazier's single deflected off Skubal's left arm, forcing athletic trainer Doug Teter to check on his health, but the pitcher stayed in the game.

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Detroit Tigers starter Tarik Skubal (29) pitches against the New York Yankees during second inning action Sunday, May 30, 2021, at Comerica Park in Detroit Mich.
Detroit Tigers starter Tarik Skubal (29) pitches against the New York Yankees during second inning action Sunday, May 30, 2021, at Comerica Park in Detroit Mich.

Skubal completed six scoreless innings during his 11th appearance (ninth start) in 2021. The only damage: two singles, one double and three walks. The rookie struck out eight batters, including back-to-back strikeouts in the third inning against Giancarlo Stanton and Judge.

Both Stanton (curveball) and Judge (slider) struck out swinging on three pitches, after leadoff hitter DJ LeMahieu grounded out on a second-pitch curveball. It was an eight-pitch, eight-strike inning — arguably Skubal's best inning this season — to send down New York's best hitters.

After Frazier's second-inning single, Skubal retired 13 of the next 15 batters to complete his outing. He threw 64 of his 95 pitches for strikes in the first scoreless MLB start of his career. He now has a 4.59 ERA.

Stanton struck out swinging for the second time against Skubal, this time on a slider, to start the sixth inning. Judge followed by smacking a ground-rule double, but Skubal didn't shy away from throwing strikes. He got his final two outs with three pitches.

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Short returns

Zack Short returned to the Tigers from Triple-A Toledo on Saturday — because right-hander Jose Urena went to the 10-day injured list — and made his first appearance in Sunday's game, playing shortstop. He singled to left field in his first at-bat in the second inning and finished 1-for-2 with two walks and one strikeout.

It was the third career MLB game in his career.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers SP Tarik Skubal deals to complete sweep over Yankees