Curtis Granderson doesn’t care that you still love him, Detroit. He’s merely here to do damage. The Yankees’ center fielder blasted his fourth career grand slam, helping bring rookie Casey Crosby’s night to an early close and helping push his team to a substantial 9-4 victory over the Tigers.
As intimidating tasks go, starting your career against the New York Yankees has to rank high. Despite this, Crosby got off to a fantastic start. He allowed a single to Derek Jeter, Crosby struck out Granderson and Alex Rodriguez, getting out of the inning. In the bottom of the first, Quintin Berry immediately found one of Comerica Park’s gaps and turned in a triple. Danny Worth singled him home, giving the Tigers a fast 1-0 lead on C.C. Sabathia. The second inning was much uglier. Crosby walked four batters, scoring the tying run for the Yankees, and then Granderson hit a grand slam, making the score 5-1. Crosby rebounded with a nice third inning, and Ramon Santiago took Sabathia deep. Prince Fielder cashed in Berry, who doubled, from third, and suddenly it was 5-3. The Tigers went on to load the bases, but Brennan Boesch struck out, ending the threat. The Yankees got a run back, ending Crosby’s night and sending Detroit’s middle relief into the game. Sometimes, intimidation takes more than one quick inning to manifest itself.
Luis Marte did good work as soon as he came into the game, keeping the Yankees scoreless for three innings while striking out three. The TIgers tried to help him out by putting two runners on with nobody out in the sixth inning, but nothing came of the limited threat, other than a potential Gerald Laird injury from a headfirst slide into first base. Brayan Villarreal pitched the eighth inning and walked Nick Swisher, who scored on a double by Andruw Jones. At 7-3, that was the final dagger the Yankees would actually need. Detroit’s woebegone offense managed to score Miguel Cabrera in the bottom of the eighth, but the Yankees added two more runs on a Rodriguez homer in the ninth, and despite loading the bases in the bottom of the inning, still managed to win by a largely laughable 9-4 margin.
Big Cat: Luis Marte. Lost in tonight’s defeat will be Marte’s exceptional effort out of the bullpen. Being that he was injured and relatively unknown, many fans probably didn’t know what to think of Marte. In tough duty with a starter getting rocked, he came in and held down the fort for four solid innings, only giving up two hits while striking out three. Marte can be a great piece for the bullpen, and had the Tigers’ offense been able to do anything, he could have been rewarded for holding a tough New York lineup scoreless during the middle innings. Very impressive array of pitches for the young righty.
Stray Kitty: Brennan Boesch. When Boesch struck out with the bases loaded, the Tigers appeared to be on the comeback trail. Instead of keeping a good at bat going, Boesch didn’t look good at all in being put away by Sabathia. Two more runs would have tied the game. Something as simple as one run would have put the Yankees on their heels even more. Instead, the Tigers had to settle for two runs in the inning, and were scored on right away in the subsequent inning. Boesch hardly redeemed himself by flying out on one pitch with runners on in the sixth. He’s looked more lost than ever in the batters box lately.
Best Play Of The Game: Nicklas Lidstrom getting announced. The recently retired Red Wings’ captain was attending the game and watching from a suite up above. After he was announced, the crowd cheered loudly, giving Lidstrom a standing ovation. It was another beautiful moment in the wake of Lidstrom’s retirement yesterday, showing Detroit fans are still reeling from their hockey star’s departure. As for the actualy baseball game? Sadly, not much that happened on the field could match that moment.
Worst Play Of The Game: The second inning. Every pitch Casey Crosby threw was poorly located, and the Yankees simply sat at the plate and watched. Just as Crosby appeared he could wiggle out of the jam, he walked in the tying run. Then, he allowed Curtis Granderson to blast off way back in right field. Lloyd McClendon was probably not amused in the home dugout.
Central Focus: Cleveland won and the Chicago White Sox were winning at the time of this being published, meaning the Tigers will likely lose more ground in the Central Division race.
On Deck: The Tigers and Yankees square off for game two tomorrow night at 7:05. Hiroki Kuroda opposes Rick Porcello on the mound.