Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Alex Avila drove a first-pitch slider off the right-field wall in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday to give the Detroit Tigers a 3-2 win over the New York Yankees.
Avila's two-out blast off Shawn Kelley hit midway up the wall and out of the reach of Ichiro Suzuki, who had to race back into the shadows to track the ball.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he couldn't tell if the ball was catchable or not.
"I heard him hit the wall and I heard the ball hit the wall," Girardi said. "The bottom line is it was a hit and we lost."
Victor Martinez started the winning rally with a double off Kelley (2-5) and J.D. Martinez followed with a walk. Pinch-runner Bryan Holaday scored on Avila's hit to give the Tigers their fourth win in five games.
Avila said he knew he made good contact.
"I knew I hit it good," he said. "I didn't know if I hit it well enough to go out (but) I knew I hit it well enough to get a shot at driving in a run."
The Tigers bounced back from an 8-4 loss on Wednesday -- when the Yankees had nine straight hits off David Price in an eight-run third inning -- to win two of three games in the series and tie Seattle for the second AL wild-card spot.
Tigers left-hander Kyle Lobstein pitched six innings in his first major-league start, giving up two runs -- one earned -- on four hits and a walk. Phil Coke (2-2) got the last out after replacing Joba Chamberlain in the ninth to earn the win.
Hiroki Kuroda threw seven innings for the Yankees, who lost for the second time in their last eight games. He yielded two runs on four hits and a walk.
The Tigers scored the game's first run in the second inning when Nick Castellanos singled with one out, raced to third on a base hit by Don Kelly and scored on Avila's sacrifice fly.
An error helped the Yankees tie the game in the third after Castellanos threw away Zelous Wheeler's dribbler toward third with two outs. Wheeler took second on the play and scored on Jacoby Ellsbury's single up the middle.
The Yankees moved in front in the fourth on Brian McCann's RBI groundout to second base with the infield back, which scored Martin Prado, who had led off with a single and advanced to third on a double by Carlos Beltran.
The Tigers tied the scored at 2-2 in the fifth inning on Rajai Davis' RBI single to plate Kelly, who drew a leadoff walk, went to second on Kuroda's wild pitch and moved up to third on a groundout.
The Yankees remain on the road to play Toronto this weekend ... The Tigers will travel to the Chicago for a four-game series with the White Sox starting on Friday ... Yankees rookie pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, rehabbing from a partial elbow ligament tear, threw 49 pitches in a simulated game on Thursday.