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Detroit at New York

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Detroit (67-57)000120000391
N.Y. Yankees (70-54) 10101123x9130

Yanks win battle of 'pens, take three of four from Tigers

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Johnny Damon proved he's still got some pop in his bat, and the surging New York Yankees showed off a couple of lively young arms in their rebuilt bullpen Sunday.

Damon hit a tiebreaking homer and New York received lights-out relief pitching from rookies Joba Chamberlain and Edwar Ramirez, sending Chien-Ming Wang and the Yankees to a 9-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

Wilson Betemit had four RBI and Hideki Matsui drove in three early runs for New York, which took the final three meetings in a key four-game series between AL playoff contenders.

"We have guys who understand this is crunch time, guys who know how to flip the switch," Damon said. "Winning three of four from Detroit -- that's no small task."

With his 1,149th win as manager of the Yankees, Joe Torre tied Hall of Famer Casey Stengel for second place on the franchise list behind Joe McCarthy (1,460).

Damon, banged-up much of the season and not starting as often as he'd like lately, finished with three hits to help New York win for the 15th time in 20 tries. The Yankees (70-54) equaled a season high at 16 games above .500.

"It was another test. The season is all about testing yourself," Torre said. "We have a lot of confidence in ourselves."

Playing without Derek Jeter, given a rare day off, the Yankees took advantage of an error by slick-fielding third baseman Brandon Inge in the fifth and broke it open on Betemit's three-run double off Aquilino Lopez with two outs in the eighth.

Betemit started at shortstop for Jeter and played a big role as New York improved to an AL-best 27-11 since the All-Star break. The Yankees, right in the thick of a close wild-card race, moved within four games of first-place Boston in the AL East.

That matches the closest they've been since the morning of April 25. New York also was four out after beating Baltimore last Monday, before losing three in a row.

"We have a lot of good things going on," Damon said.

The Tigers, who have dropped eight of 12, fell to 15-23 since the break. They remained 1½ games back of first-place Cleveland in the AL Central.

"We're striking out way too much. When you get the starting pitcher in trouble in the fourth or fifth inning, you've got to put the ball in play," manager Jim Leyland said. "Bad at-bats with men in scoring position."

The Yankees open another big series Monday night with the first of three games at the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels, a longtime nemesis.

Detroit heads home for three key games against the Indians starting Tuesday, then hosts the Yankees four times next weekend.

"I just think you go through hot and cold streaks during the course of the year," said ex-Yankee Gary Sheffield, booed loudly all weekend. "Unfortunately, we're going through a cold streak right now."

Wang (14-6) limited damage by pitching out of trouble in several crucial situations. Rebounding from consecutive rough outings, he allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings.

Chamberlain and Ramirez combined for three perfect innings to finish it.

Jeremy Bonderman, who shut down the Yankees last October to seal Detroit's first-round playoff upset, fell to 0-5 in his last seven starts. Bonderman (10-6) walked five batters in six innings.

With the delirious sellout crowd of 55,071 chanting his name again, Chamberlain worked a perfect seventh against the middle of Detroit's dangerous lineup. He induced Sheffield to pop up on an eye-high, 99 mph fastball, then struck out Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen to preserve a 4-3 lead.

"I still get chills every time it happens," Chamberlain said. "I'm going to challenge every guy out there."

The rookie sensation has 11 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings since being called up from Triple-A on Aug. 7.

"For someone of this limited experience, I can't remember anybody like him," Torre said. "Not only as far as throwing hard, but the fact that he can make pitches."

Ramirez struck out all three batters in the eighth, then worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his first career save.

With the score tied at 3-3 in the sixth, Damon hit a solo shot into the right-field upper deck off Bonderman for his first home run since July 31.

After Robinson Cano was intentionally walked for the second time, Betemit added a two-out RBI single in the seventh off Zach Miner. Andy Phillips followed with a run-scoring single to make it 6-3.

Notes

  • Wang is 4-0 with a 2.90 ERA in five career starts against Detroit.
  • The Yankees have won 11 of their past 13 series and seven consecutive four-game sets, all 3-1, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
  • All-Star 2B Placido Polanco (flu) of the Tigers missed his sixth consecutive game as he tries to regain his strength.
  • Detroit C Ivan Rodriguez received a scheduled rest to give him consecutive days off.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Wilson Betemit sits in for Derek Jeter at short and comes up big at the plate with 4 RBI.  (Getty Images)
Wilson Betemit sits in for Derek Jeter at short and comes up big at the plate with 4 RBI. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
New York

J. Damon
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
New York

W. Betemit
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 4
 
Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF4110120 .288
Sean Casey, 1B5010002 .286
Gary Sheffield, DH3100101 .281
Magglio Ordonez, RF4011010 .351
Carlos Guillen, SS4110021 .304
Ryan Raburn, 2B4020011 .349
Mike Rabelo, C4031010 .282
Brandon Inge, 3B4000035 .242
Cameron Maybin, LF4000013 .182
Totals36392211  
Batting
2B - Carlos Guillen (25, Wang), Mike Rabelo (9, Wang)
RBI - Magglio Ordonez (110), Mike Rabelo (12)
SB - Gary Sheffield (20, 3rd base off Wang/Posada), Magglio Ordonez (3, 2nd base off Wang/Posada)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Rabelo-Guillen
E - Brandon Inge (15, Misplayed grounder)
Detroit Tigers
Jeremy Bonderman (L,10-6) 6743551 4.65
Zach Miner 1322210 3.90
Aquilino Lopez 1333100 5.19
IBB - Cano by Jeremy Bonderman, Cano by Zach Miner
Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Bonderman 115-62, Zach Miner 35-17, Aquilino Lopez 23-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Bonderman 5-8, Zach Miner 1-1, Aquilino Lopez 2-1
Batters Faced - Jeremy Bonderman 30, Zach Miner 8, Aquilino Lopez 7
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, LF4231101 .262
Melky Cabrera, CF5010016 .296
Bobby Abreu, RF4220111 .287
Alex Rodriguez, 3B3210201 .304
Hideki Matsui, DH3013012 .300
Jorge Posada, C4100115 .332
Robinson Cano, 2B3210201 .309
Wilson Betemit, SS5024022 .235
Andy Phillips, 1B4021101 .291
Totals35913986  
Batting
2B - Wilson Betemit (9, Lopez)
HR - Johnny Damon (7, Bonderman)
SF - Hideki Matsui 2 (9)
RBI - Johnny Damon (45), Hideki Matsui 3 (86), Wilson Betemit 4 (38), Andy Phillips (24)
2-OUT RBI - Wilson Betemit 4 (19), Andy Phillips (12)
SB - Bobby Abreu (17, 2nd base off Bonderman/Rabelo), Alex Rodriguez (16, 2nd base off Miner/Rabelo)
CS - Melky Cabrera (3, 2nd base by Bonderman/Rabelo)
Team LOB - 12
New York Yankees
Chien-Ming Wang (W,14-6) 6933260 4.10
Joba Chamberlain (H,3) 1000020 0.00
Edwar Ramirez (S,1) 2000030 5.40
WP - Chien-Ming Wang 2 (8)
Pitches-Strikes - Chien-Ming Wang 93-60, Joba Chamberlain 9-8, Edwar Ramirez 22-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chien-Ming Wang 7-5
Batters Faced - Chien-Ming Wang 29, Joba Chamberlain 3, Edwar Ramirez 6
Game Information
Attendance - 55071
Game Time - 3:19
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Jerry Layne, First Base - Marvin Hudson, Second Base - Chris Guccione, Third Base - Jeff Kellogg