The Yankees had nine hits, including two long balls, and had 15 total baserunners. CC Sabathia was good on the mound, throwing seven innings of five-hit ball and striking out nine. The American League’s best offense returned, and it led to a Yankees’ victory, 6-2, their first victory since Saturday.

AP Photo

Initial Reaction:

The game didn’t start off exactly the way anyone would have liked. A first pitch fastball that caught a bit too much of the plate was hit over the wall in left by Tigers leadoff man Austin Jackson. But right after, sure enough, CC finished the inning in normal fashion. Pitching with a lead before even stepping on the rubber, Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander posed to be a threat to keep the score at 1-0 – especially with the Yanks’ offense mired in a slump. It was clear from the start, though, the Verlander didn’t pack his best stuff. Brett Gardner singled, and Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano walked, which brought Nick Swisher to the plate with juiced bases. Swish came through with a sharply hit grounder through the infield, scoring Gardner and Jeter. Marcus Thames, in the DH spot for Lance Berkman, killed the baes loaded rally with a routine pitcher-to-catcher-to-first, 1-2-3 double play. To the delight of everyone rooting for pinstripes, the Yankees scored four more runs, totaling six, spread over four innings. Finally.

Sabathia was the Big Stoppa again tonight. He was far from spectacular, but the Big Stoppa knows what he has to do to get the job done. He fell behind in the count in many at-bats, which led to a pitch count of 115. That led to an uncharacteristic three walks, but he made up for it by striking out nine and keeping six of 16 balls in play on the ground. The biggest threat came in the fourth, with runners on the corners and two away. Sabathia was down 3-0 to Brandon Inge, who took the next two pitches for strikes. With a 3-2 count, CC threw a fastball low and away to Inge, who took a weak cut at it and whiffed. Detroit wouldn’t threaten the rest of the night.

Positives From The Game:

As I mentioned above, the Yanks got out to an early lead and never looked back – something that hasn’t been happening of late – and their bats and legs did plenty of hitting and walking. They can’t hit Bryan Bullington, but they can hit Verlander. Bring on the aces!

With his 2-for-3, one-walk night, Brett Gardner is now 8 for his last 19 (.421) with four walks (.480 OBP) and three doubles (.579 SLG).

The Big Stoppa is really earning that nickname. Losing streak? Stopped.

Negatives From The Game:

Mark Teixeira went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, and left six on base.

Andy Pettitte threw 40 flat ground pitches at “game intensity” before going for a precautionary MRI on his injured left groin. The test showed a “small persistent strain” and Andy will not throw off a mound for another week, but he will continue to throw off of flat ground. Expect Pettitte to return before mid-September, and not the late-August return we thought was possible.

Interesting Facts:

Robinson Cano hit his first home run since July 31.

Curtis Granderson went 1 for 3 with a walk tonight. He is now 8 for 22 (.364) with three walks (.440 OBP), two homers and two doubles (.727 SLG) since the changes to his swing.

Jorge Posada, on his 39th birthday, set a career high with his third stolen base of the season. All three have come this month.

What’s Next?:

Game three of the four-game set, tomorrow at 7 in the Bronx, as the Yanks look to take a 2-1 series edge.

Probables: Jeremy Bonderman (6-8, 5.16 ERA) vs. Dustin Moseley (2-2, 4.41 ERA)

Let’s Go Yankees