NEW YORK – CC Sabathia was dominant at home again and Nick Swisher had a two-run single, leading the New York Yankees to a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.
Curtis Granderson homered against his former team and Robinson Cano connected from the cleanup spot for New York. Cano moved up a spot in the order because Alex Rodriguez sat out after experiencing soreness in his left calf and leaving the Yankees' loss to Detroit on Monday night. An MRI on Tuesday revealed a low-grade strain and he is day to day.
Brett Gardner had two hits, scored twice and stole a base from the leadoff spot a night after making an aggressive slide into second base in an attempt to break up a game-ending double play. Tigers second baseman Carlos Guillen injured his knee on the play and sat out Tuesday. There was no retaliation, though.
Sabathia (16-5) became the AL's first 16-game winner and improved to 14-0 in his last 19 regular-season starts at home, a streak that began with seven scoreless innings against his opponent Tuesday, Justin Verlander, on July 18, 2009.
The big lefty started Tuesday by giving up a homer to former Yankees prospect Austin Jackson on the first pitch but settled down to mow through the Tigers' lineup until Brandon Inge led off the seventh with a homer.
Sabathia gave up five hits over seven innings. He helped end the Tigers' first three-game winning streak since they won five straight from July 5-10. Sabathia struck out nine and walked three after giving up six runs in six innings against Verlander (13-8) and the Tigers on May 13.
David Robertson pitched the eighth to run his scoreless streak to 16 2-3 innings over 17 appearances. Mariano Rivera worked a scoreless ninth.
The Yankees hoped to take advantage of Verlander's habit of struggling in the first inning, and they did. Verlander's opponents have a .293 batting average in the first and are hitting just .222 the rest of the way.
Gardner led off with a single and Derek Jeter walked. After an out, Swisher, batting lefty, lined a single to the opposite field for two runs.
New York broke form a bit in the second, when Granderson led off with a homer to right-center, his 12th this season. Ramiro Pena then singled, but the Yankees did not get another hit in Verlander's five innings.
Verlander matched a season high with five walks and struck out five, four in his last two innings.
The Yankees added a run in the sixth and two more in the seventh against Daniel Schlereth. Jeter had a run-scoring single after Gardner hit a bloop double down the right-field line in the sixth, and Cano led off the seventh with his 22nd homer. Pena hit a sacrifice fly to make it 6-2.
NOTES: Yankees CF Granderson made two special plays in the first. He made a long run to catch Ramon Santiago's drive to right-center before diving flat out to snare Johnny Damon's liner to left-center on the next at-bat. ... Yogi Berra was back at Yankee Stadium for the first time since he fell at home on July 16, the day before Old Timers' Day. ... LHP Andy Pettitte threw 40 pitches before going for a precautionary MRI on his injured left groin. The Yankees said Pettitte still feels discomfort when he throws 100 percent. ... Tigers RF Brennan Boesch struck out his first three times up.