The Yankees were 1-1 against recent Cy Young Award winners in the first half of this series. Last night they improved to 2-1 and set themselves up for an improbable series victory as Chris Capuano outdueled Justin Verlander and the offense provided some late insurance.
Capuano was positively brilliant in his 6.2 innings of work. The only run he allowed came in the top of the 1st thanks to a Derek Jeter error, a wild pitch, and a Miguel Cabrera sacrifice fly. After that it was smooth sailing for the veteran lefty thanks to his his changeup. He stifled the Tiger lineup with it all night and limited them to 5 measly hits while striking out 8 and walking 1.
Verlander looked like his old self early, working the first run through the order perfectly. It wasn't until Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center with 2 outs in the 4th that the Yankees got their first base runner, but once they did that they did just enough against the new Verlander to take back the lead. Chase Headley pummeled a 2-2 hanger for a home run to right to tie the game in the 5th, and Brian McCann put the Yanks ahead with a solo shot of his own in the 7th. His homer came with 2 strikes as well.
Capuano couldn't finish off the 7th and so the game went to the hands of the bullpen. Adam Warren got into trouble in the 8th when Stephen Drew made a complete calamity of a grounder hit to him, flubbing the catch and delivering the throw wide to put runners on the corners with 1 out. That's usually Betances territory, but he was unavailable last night and Warren manned up to hold the lead by striking out J.D. Martinez and getting Nick Castellanos to fly out to right.
The insurance came in the bottom of the 8th in the form of a single-walk-single-error-challenge stretch of plays against reliever Blaine Hardy. The error was Andrew Romine's and it cost the Tigers 2 runs on what would have been a double play, the second coming when Joe got a call overturned at the plate. From there it was the other David's turn to pitch the 9th and Huff did so without issue.
- The overturn was the 17th successful challenge in 22 chances for Joe this year. I haven't seen any stats anywhere on each manager's record in challenges, but Joe has to have the best success rate, no?
- Headley went 2-4 and was the only Yankee with multiple hits. He's got a .263/.323/.421 slash line in 15 games since being traded.
- Drew doubled down on his double-error play by taking an 0-3 night at the plate with a K.
- The Yankees actually made 4 errors on the night, the other one a bad throw by Capuano. That the Tigers only managed to score 1 run is a testament to how good Cap and Warren were in their 8 innings.
- The 3-run rally in the 8th brought an end to the Yankees' streak of games decided by 2 runs or less. Final count was 16, 2 short of the all-time record.