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Detroit at New York

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Detroit (48-41)000000010160
N.Y. Yankees (53-37) «00000020x270

A-Rod's improbable HR boosts CC in matchup vs. Verlander, Tigers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Justin Verlander followed the trajectory of the ball and watched helplessly as Alex Rodriguez's opposite-field fly settled softly into the second row of right-field seats.

All of a sudden, after six dominant innings, Verlander was losing.

Welcome to the new Yankee Stadium.

CC Sabathia beat Verlander in a prime pitching matchup that lived up to its billing, and Rodriguez's pop-fly homer sent the New York Yankees to a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

"It's very frustrating," Verlander said. "It's very disappointing to throw the ball as well as I did and come away with a loss."

Sabathia (9-6) tossed seven shutout innings, working out of trouble all afternoon for his eighth victory in 11 decisions. Mariano Rivera got three quick outs for a save and Derek Jeter made an outstanding defensive play in the ninth.

"The game had a feeling that one mistake, one pitch, one swing was going to be the difference," Rodriguez said.

Melky Cabrera legged out an infield single to drive in the second run against Verlander (10-5), who took a three-hit shutout into the seventh before running into some tough luck.

Rodriguez led off with a high fly toward Yankee Stadium's short right-field porch. Verlander watched it the whole way, then smiled in disbelief after the ball carried over the fence.

"If it went out by 10 rows, all right. But just scraping the back of the wall is frustrating. I'd rather a guy hit it 10 miles," Verlander said. "I didn't think he hit it very well, but it had the right trajectory and he hit it to the right part of the field."

It was Rodriguez's 571st home run, two behind Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew for ninth place.

"He's throwing 98 [mph]," Rodriguez said about Verlander, coming off his second trip to the All-Star game. "I think he supplied a lot of the power."

Robinson Cano singled with two outs and went to third on Nick Swisher's soft double inside the left-field line. Cabrera hit a slow roller to shortstop, with Swisher doing all he could to distract Adam Everett as he crossed over to third.

"Very smart baseball," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Everett's throw appeared to beat Cabrera by the slimmest margin, but he was called safe by first base umpire Jeff Nelson. Cabrera clapped his hands as Cano scored, putting New York ahead 2-0.

Marcus Thames homered in the eighth off Alfredo Aceves, who struck out two to set up Rivera for his 507th career save and 25th in 26 chances this season.

Jeter made a signature jump throw from deep in the shortstop hole to get Brandon Inge for the second out of the ninth.

"That was an incredible play," Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "He made such a strong throw. It was perfect."

The Yankees, who have won 15 of 20, are 40-22 since Rodriguez came off the disabled list May 8 -- the best record in the majors. New York also improved to 18-5 against AL Central teams.

The first-place Tigers fell to 4-12 against the AL East.

"Hopefully, sweep them tomorrow," Sabathia said.

Verlander beat Sabathia on April 27, pitching seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts and no walks to start his seven-game winning streak.

This time, the right-hander yielded only two hits through his first 5 2/3 innings -- singles by Jeter in the first and fourth.

"That's as good as we've seen him. He was throwing every pitch for strikes. He's added a slider to his repertoire," Rodriguez said. "You just hope for a mistake. These guys, it's hard to score three or four runs against guys like CC and Verlander. We knew one or two runs would win the game."

A gritty Sabathia allowed five hits and three walks but stranded seven runners. Pitching like the $161 million ace the Yankees were counting on when they signed him, the big lefty also induced a pair of double-play grounders.

With runners at second and third in the sixth, Sabathia retired Ryan Raburn on a shallow fly and Inge on a soft looper.

"We had CC on the ropes a couple of times," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We just couldn't capitalize. Most people talk about guys who have high on-base percentages, but I'd rather take the guy who will drive them in."

Notes

  • David Cone threw out the first pitch on the 10th anniversary of his perfect game against the Montreal Expos at old Yankee Stadium. His catcher in that game was the same one as Saturday: Girardi.
  • New York reliever Damaso Marte (left shoulder inflammation) pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts in his second rehab appearance for the Gulf Coast League Yankees.
 
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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A-Rod watches his HR -- which looks like a pop fly at first -- go into the second row of seats.  (AP)
A-Rod watches his HR -- which looks like a pop fly at first -- go into the second row of seats. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

C. Sabathia
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 0
BB 3
K 4
Detroit

M. Thames
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF4000012 .254
Placido Polanco, 2B4010000 .258
Miguel Cabrera, 1B3010110 .322
Marcus Thames, DH4121013 .286
Magglio Ordonez, RF3010112 .261
Ryan Raburn, LF4000023 .260
Brandon Inge, 3B2000102 .262
Gerald Laird, C4010001 .242
Adam Everett, SS3000012 .254
Totals3116137  
Batting
2B - Placido Polanco (21, Sabathia), Magglio Ordonez (11, Sabathia)
HR - Marcus Thames (10, Aceves)
RBI - Marcus Thames (23)
2-OUT RBI - Marcus Thames (10)
Team LOB - 7
Detroit Tigers
Justin Verlander (L,10-5) 7722161 3.34
Bobby Seay 1000020 2.79
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 109-72, Bobby Seay 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 4-10
Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 28, Bobby Seay 3
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter, SS4020012 .325
Johnny Damon, LF4010001 .278
    Brett Gardner, CF0000000 .282
Mark Teixeira, 1B3000131 .277
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4111012 .250
Hideki Matsui, DH3000002 .266
Jorge Posada, C3000010 .281
Robinson Cano, 2B3110010 .310
Nick Swisher, RF3010010 .236
Melky Cabrera, CF-LF3011000 .285
Totals3027218  
Batting
2B - Johnny Damon (21, Verlander), Nick Swisher (19, Verlander)
HR - Alex Rodriguez (18, Verlander)
RBI - Alex Rodriguez (51), Melky Cabrera (35)
2-OUT RBI - Melky Cabrera (14)
CS - Derek Jeter (4, 2nd base by Verlander/Laird)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Jeter-Cano-Teixeira, Jeter-Cano-Teixeira
PB - Jorge Posada (3)
New York Yankees
CC Sabathia (W,9-6) 7500340 3.66
Alfredo Aceves (H,4) 1111021 2.64
Mariano Rivera (S,25) 1000010 2.31
HBP - Inge (by CC Sabathia)
WP - CC Sabathia (5)
Pitches-Strikes - CC Sabathia 114-66, Alfredo Aceves 14-10, Mariano Rivera 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - CC Sabathia 7-8, Mariano Rivera 1-1
Batters Faced - CC Sabathia 28, Alfredo Aceves 4, Mariano Rivera 3
Game Information
Attendance - 46423
Game Time - 2:39
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Jeff Nelson, Second Base - Mark Carlson, Third Base - Tim Tschida