DETROIT -- Facing a New York Yankees lineup that was devoid of Derek Jeter for the first time since 1995, the Detroit Tigers won 2-1 backed by strong pitching by Alfredo Simon, stellar defense, and key hits in the seventh inning. The win marks the 11th of the season for the Tigers, improving their record to 11-2.
Simon (3-0) was stellar, giving up just one run in his 7 1/3 innings of work, the only mistake being an 81 mph splitter to Mark Teixeira, who smoked it for a solo home run to right. And between the Tigers' infield defense and the Yankees outfield defense, the only run to score was a leadoff home run in the second.
Victor Martinez, batting from the right side, seemed to be in no pain, as was evidenced by two pitches he scorched deep into the outfield. Both would have gone as doubles even for Martinez, if it hadn't been for the acrobatic defensive plays of Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner, both of whom made flashy diving catches to rob Martinez of two hits.
For all the defensive shows the Yankees put on in the outfield, though, the Tigers put on a show in the infield. Jose Iglesias somehow turned would-be base hits into stunning and unbelievable outs. Joba Chamberlain, brought in to replace Simon with runners on the corners and one out in the eighth inning, needed one pitch to start an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play, the second turned that evening.
The Tigers' offense had perfect timing, scoring two runs off Sabathia in the seventh inning. With Rajai Davis on second base with two outs, the Yankees intentionally walked Victor Martinez. J.D. Martinez made the Yankees pay, singling past shortstop Didi Gregorius to tie the game. Victor came around to score on the next at-bat, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
After the Tigers squandered an opportunity to add insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, Joakim Soria worked another 1-2-3 ninth inning for his fifth save in as many attempts this year, working through the heart of the order with ease. CC Sabathia (0-3) took the loss for the Yankees, pitching a complete game in the losing effort.
Alfredo Simon: Gave the Tigers 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball. He struck out seven and walked none on seven hits, throwing 109 pitches, 70 strikes.
Defense: Once again the Tigers' defense has been a big part of why the Tigers continue to win games. Outside of stellar pitching, a radically improved infield alone has saved a multitude of runs allowed.
Seventh inning: There wasn't much of it to go around and Sabathia had the Tigers swinging early to start the game, but they got to him in the seventh. After a leadoff single, Rajai Davis advanced to second base on a flyout by Ian Kinsler, then scored on a single from J.D. Martinez. Another two-out single from Yoenis Cespedes gave the Tigers the lead.
Miguel Cabrera: The Tigers' star had a rough night, going 0-for-3 with two double plays. Cabrera only saw four pitches on the night and was responsible for five outs.
Baserunning: Davis' heads-up play to advance on a Kinsler fly out was a key play in tonight's game, but there were a couple of aggressive mistakes earlier in the game. Jose Iglesias was also picked off by CC Sabathia in the third inning.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Nick Castellanos singled in the bottom of the eighth inning, stretching his hitting streak to eight games.
- The Tigers had seven hits tonight, but no extra base hits. This was their first win with zero extra base hits since April 29, 2014. They also won a game with zero extra base hits on April 20, 2014, beating the Los Angeles Angels 2-1.
- Joba Chamberlain retired Jacoby Ellsbury in a crucial situation in the eighth inning. Ellsbury is now 4 for 29 in his career against Chamberlain.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: