NEW YORK – Max Scherzer pitched two-hit ball for six shutout innings and shaky closer Jose Valverde got Derek Jeter to ground into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded Monday night, giving the Detroit Tigers a 3-1 win over the New York Yankees.
The Tigers took a 3-0 lead into the ninth — the Yankees were close to being shut out in consecutive games for the first time since 1999.
Valverde, who escaped an eighth-inning jam, quickly saw the Yankees load the bases with one out on two walks and a single. A walk to Brett Gardner forced home a run, and brought up Jeter.
Jeter hit a bouncer to shortstop and the speedy Gardner barreled into second baseman Carlos Guillen, trying to break up the relay. Guillen's throw barely nipped Jeter, and Valverde held on for his 23rd save in a row.
The highest-scoring team in the majors managed only six hits overall against Scherzer (8-9) and a trio of relievers.
Not since May 1999, when the Anaheim Angels stopped them, have the Yankees been blanked in back-to-back games. The AL East leaders managed to score a lone run, a day after being limited to two singles Sunday in a 1-0 loss at Kansas City.
Ryan Raburn hit a two-run homer in the second off Javier Vazquez (9-9). Miguel Cabrera hit his 28th home run in the ninth off Joba Chamberlain.
Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher left the Yankees' lineup early with ailments. Rodriguez came out after four innings because of tightness in his left calf and Swisher exited with tightness in his right forearm. Both players were day to day.
Detroit's Johnny Damon drew a standing ovation in his return to Yankee Stadium. He took off his batting helmet, revealing a neatly trimmed Mohawk haircut, waved to the crowd and turned to the New York dugout before batting in the first.
The Yankees applauded their former teammate, who helped them win the World Series last year. Damon went 0 for 3 with two walks.
Facing the Yankees for the first time in his career, Scherzer held them to a pair of puny singles. He struck out Jeter and Swisher to begin his outing, and fanned six overall with two walks.
Scherzer got Jeter to ground into a double play with two on to end the third. In the fourth, after shortstop Jhonny Peralta bumped into Guillen on Mark Teixeira's easy popup and dropped the ball for a two-base error, Scherzer retired Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.
Relievers Phil Coke, Ryan Perry and Valverde closed out the Yankees.
Raburn hit his fifth home run in 11 games, launching a drive over the left-field wall in the second inning.
Jeter's career-best streak of 52 games without an error ended. The Yankees shortstop made a wide throw on Cabrera's routine grounder in the fifth.
NOTES: The Tigers won their third straight road game. Before that, they had lost 13 of their previous 14 away from Comerica Park. ... Yankees DH Lance Berkman is day to day after spraining his right ankle Sunday. Manager Joe Girardi doesn't expect Berkman to be out a long time, but it could be a couple of days. ... Yankees DH Nick Johnson, out since May after surgery on his right wrist, had another setback. No telling if he'll play again this season. ... The Yankees started off their Hope Week, with every player taking part in events that highlight family and community outreach. Mariano Rivera, Teixeira and Swisher were among the Yankees who enjoyed a pool party at the New Jersey home of 13-year-old Jorge Grajales, who was born in Panama and had all four limbs amputated because of a childhood illness. Grajales watching batting practice behind the cage, stretched on the field with Rivera and then threw out the first ball.