Jacoby Ellsbury had two hits and an RBI and Brandon McCarthy pitched effectively into the sixth inning as the Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers 2-1 Monday in the opener of a four-game series at Yankee Stadium.
Brett Gardner had two hits and scored on Brian McCann's RBI single to help the Yankees win their third straight and pull one game behind Toronto for the second wild card in the American League. McCarthy (7-10) won his fourth straight start, striking out eight and giving up an unearned run over 5 2/3 innings to remain undefeated in five starts since he was acquired from Arizona.
Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (13-4) had his seven-start unbeaten streak snapped, allowing two runs and nine hits over seven innings to absorb his first defeat since June 17. Second baseman Ian Kinsler drove in the only run and sparked a superb defensive performance for Detroit, which had its lead atop the AL Central sliced to 4 1/2 games.
New York loaded the bases with no outs in the third on three straight singles before Ezequiel Carrera made a spectacular lunging catch of Ellsbury's deep drive to the warning track in center as Ichiro Suzuki trotted home. McCann delivered a two-out single to right to double the lead but Kinsler's diving stab of Chase Headley's grounder kept it a 2-0 deficit.
The Tigers got a run back in the fifth thanks to a throwing error by third baseman Martin Prado, setting the stage for Kinsler's one-out RBI single. The Yankees squandered scoring chances in the fourth and fifth innings, but three relievers bridged the gap to closer David Robertson, who worked a perfect ninth to notch his 30th save of the season and third in three days.
GAME NOTEBOOK: While Gardner was named the AL Player of the Week on Monday after hitting .478 with three doubles, five home runs and seven RBIs, 1B Mark Teixeira (lightheaded) was a last-minute scratch from the lineup. ... Tigers SS Eugenio Suarez exited the game in the top of the fifth inning with a left knee sprain after stealing second base and will be re-evaluated Tuesday. ... Yankees RHP David Phelps, who started Sunday night in Boston, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday because of right elbow inflammation, and the team recalled RHP Matt Daley from Triple-A Scranton.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun