Robinson Cano hit a tiebreaking double and a two-run homer in New York's nine-run sixth inning, sending Phil Hughes and the Yankees to an 11-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.
Austin Kearns added a two-run double and Derek Jeter a two-run triple as New York's offense, still missing Alex Rodriguez and Lance Berkman because of injuries, broke loose for the second consecutive day.
The big inning spoiled a homecoming for 21-year-old Tigers starter Rick Porcello, who made his first career start at Yankee Stadium. Porcello attended Seton Hall Prep in nearby West Orange, N.J., and was pitching with family and friends in the crowd of 48,143.
Miguel Cabrera hit his third homer in two games and fourth of the series for Detroit, but there was no carry-over of beanballs from a testy game the night before.
Cano has homered in three straight games while batting in A-Rod's cleanup spot. He had three hits and scored three times for the Yankees, who took the final three in a four-game series with the fading Tigers to remain in first place. New York began the day tied with Tampa Bay atop the AL East.
Porcello was handed a 2-0 lead on Cabrera's first-inning homer, giving the All-Star slugger 100 RBIs for the seventh consecutive season. But the right-hander, who held New York hitless for 3 1-3 innings, couldn't hold it.
The Yankees hadn't gotten a ball out of the infield before managing three straight singles in the fourth. Nick Swisher's hit on a 3-0 pitch drove in one run and former Tiger Curtis Granderson tied it with a two-out single.
That's how it stayed until the sixth, when Mark Teixeira drew a leadoff walk after falling behind 0-2 in the count and scored on Cano's double.
Swisher walked and Jorge Posada chased Porcello (5-11) with an RBI single on a 3-0 pitch for his 1,559th hit, passing fellow catcher Thurman Munson for 17th place on the Yankees' career list.
After another walk, Kearns greeted Robbie Weinhardt with a double to center. Granderson scored on a passed ball, Jeter tripled off the center-field fence and Cano hit his 24th homer, a drive to center that made it 11-2 and capped the scoring in a 34-minute half-inning.
Suddenly enjoying a big cushion, Yankees manager Joe Girardi took the opportunity to pull Hughes (15-5) after 84 pitches — 61 for strikes. The right-hander retired his final 11 batters and gave up four hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked none.
Hughes was helped by two excellent defensive plays in a row in the fourth, by Teixeira at first base and Granderson in center.
With a runner aboard and two outs in the first, Cabrera drove a 3-2 breaking ball into the Yankees' bullpen in right-center for his 31st home run. The slugger homered twice Wednesday night, then was plunked in the back by an eighth-inning pitch from Chad Gaudin.
That left Tigers manager Jim Leyland incensed, and he argued that Gaudin should have been ejected. Both benches had been warned earlier, after New York leadoff man Brett Gardner was hit in the leg by Jeremy Bonderman's first pitch.
Gardner's hard slide on a game-ending double play Monday night sent Detroit second baseman Carlos Guillen to the disabled list with a bruised knee.
After Cabrera was plunked Wednesday, Tigers reliever Enrique Gonzalez threw a pitch behind Jeter.
Cabrera's two-run shot Thursday left him 5 for 10 against Hughes, but the right-hander retired the New York nemesis the next two times up.
NOTES: Tigers DH Johnny Damon received several warm hands as he wrapped up a return to Yankee Stadium. He went 2 for 13 in the series. ... Slumping OF Brennan Boesch rested but is expected back in Detroit's starting lineup Friday night against Cleveland. Boesch entered in the seventh and had an RBI single in the eighth. ... Detroit finished 3-4 on a seven-game road trip. ... The Yankees put Berkman on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Monday, with a sprained right ankle and recalled INF Eduardo Nunez from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Nunez made his major league debut when he replaced Jeter at SS in the seventh. ... Rodriguez (strained left calf) was out of the lineup for the third straight game and remains day to day. Ramiro Pena started at 3B.