Drew Smyly, stopper? Drew Smyly, ace? OK, probably not. But Smyly sure impersonates one quite well, tossing 6 innings of 1 run, 2 hit baseball to lead the Detroit Tigers to a 7-5 victory over the New York Yankees. The win ended the Tigers' losing streak at 5 games, and have them back over .500 with a 11-10 record.
The Tigers started off fast in the bandbox known as Yankee Stadium. Austin Jackson led off the game with a walk. After Brennan Boesch and Miguel Cabrera struck out looking on the exact same pitch from Freddy Garcia, the Yankees got creative, issuing an intentional pass to Prince Fielder. Andy Dirks, getting the start with Delmon Young incommunicado, made Garcia pay by hitting a 3 run HR onto the short RF porch. 3-0 Tigers, just like that.
The Yankees retaliated in their half of the inning. Nick Swisher took Smyly out of the park in left with 1 out, Tigers' lead falling to 3-1.
The Tigers came out swinging in the 2nd inning. Alex Avila singled to center. With 2 out and Avila still on 1st base, Jackson lined a single through the left side. Boesch followed by pulling a double down the line, Avila coming around to to score, Jackson sprinting to 3rd, Tigers up 4-1. Cabrera then does what he does so well, hit the ball hard. He lined a single off the wall in right, scoring Jackson and Boesch. Tigers were suddenly up 6-1, all the runs scoring with 2 out, giving Smyly a big cushion.
Smyly took advantage, going into cruise control for the next 5 innings. He did get help from Dirks, who ran down deep fly balls in the 2nd and 3rd innings, plays Delmon Young or Ryan Raburn would have kicked right onto a blooper reel. A left fielder who hits and fields the position? What a concept!
Smyly gave up a lead off single to Alex Rodriguez in the 7th, and Jim Leyland was off to the mound before the ball hit the ground. Smyly left to a very nice and loud ovation from the Tigers fans in attendance. Phil Coke came on, Mark Teixeira dribbled into the 1-6-3 double play. Coke didn't get out of the inning unscathed, as Curtis Granderson, Tiger killer, hit a no doubt home run to right center, drawing the Yankees within 4 runs, 6-2.
Cabrera got the run back in the following inning, almost effortlessly drilling a solo home run to the opposite field, stretching the Tigers lead back to 5 runs at 7-2.
Octavio Dotel pitched a scoreless 8th, which meant Jose Valverde would make of of his dreaded non-save opportunity appearances. It went as expected. What's a Big Potato appearance without at least a little drama? Pleasant, but it rarely happens.
Valverde allowed a lead off home run to Swisher, his 2nd of the game. Rodriguez walked, ultimately coming around to score on a Granderson bloop single. Granderson scored on a pinch hit double by Raul Ibanez, making the score a nerve-wracking 7-5.
Hearts then stopped all over Tigerdom for a few seconds, as pinch hitter Eric Chavez's lazy high fly to right stopped just short of the Little League warning track in right, Don Kelly hauling it in for the victory.
Drew Smyly gets his first major league victory. Freddy Garcia took the loss, falling to 0-2. As for Valverde? All I can say is, "Stop doing that!"