What it means: That the Yankees won't get run over in the Motor City, although they did come awfully close to a monumental collapse tonight. A sloppy, dreadful game goes their way, however, and the 12-8 win makes it possible they could leave Detroit with a split after Thursday afternoon's series finale.
It don't come easy: The Yankees led 7-0 after 3 1/2 innings, but a steady drip of dinks, dunks and infield hits, along with an error, made it a one-run ballgame (8-7) after seven. Had they not tacked on two more in the eighth to hold off the Tigers, this one would have shot to the top of the list of worst losses of the year.
Ugly inning: That would be the home seventh, in which an error by Casey McGehee led to four Detroit runs when David Robertson, on in relief of CC Sabathia, allowed four straight hits -- an infield hit by Delmon Young off the glove of Mark Teixeira, an opposite-field single right down the 3B line by PH Andy Dirks, a swinging bunt off the bat of Brennan Boesch that McGehee couldn't handle and and an opposite field bloop by PH Alex Avila.
The Joy of Six: Joe Girardi's decision to drop Curtis Granderson, the club's leading home run hitter to the middle of his order -- sixth, to be precise -- paid dividends when Grandy parked No. 30 over the RF fence with two men on to give the Yankees a 5-0 third-inning lead. Granderson had also driven in a run with single in the first and now has 66, second-highest on the team. He also added a double leading off the seventh.
CC so-so: In his follow-up to a brilliant complete game performance against the Mariners on Friday, Sabathia worked into the seventh inning, allowed eight hits and five runs, although just three were earned. Not close to overpowering in this one. Still, Girardi's decision to pull him after 94 pitches seemed curious with two out, a runner on first and the Yankees holding an 8-5 lead.
Hit parade: The Yankees pounded out a season-high 18 hits, including three each by Granderson and Robinson Cano, and for the third consecutive night, the Tigers had 13.
I'm warning you!: Tigers starter Anibel Sanchez plunked Teixeira in the top of the first inning. Sabathia drilled Prince Fielder in the bottom of the first. Sanchez hit Cano in the top of the third. At that point, HP ump Tim Welke said "Enough!'' and issued warnings to both benches, drawing the objections of Girardi, who may have wanted the chance to even things up.
Boot camp: Cano's misplay of Boesch's sixth-inning grounder ended a streak of 13 error-less games that stretched back to July 23. Despite their error-free baseball, the Yankees were 5-8 over that stretch of games. An inning later, McGehee fluffed Miguel Cabrera's grounder to start the Detroit rally and give the Yankees their first two-error game since July 7 in Boston. Plus, there were other sloppy plays, notably Teixeira cutting off Cano on Young's infield bouncer, resulting in what should have been a routine 4-3 turning into an infield hit, and eventually, a run.
Prince of strides: Tigers first baseman Fielder, all (listed) 275 pounds of him, showed some wheels legging out an infield hit to deep short in the sixth inning.
What's coming: A column on the strangest win of the season, and why it may turn out to be just what the Yankees need to get going again.
Tomorrow: I'll be doing my weekly Yankees live chat tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. -- I'll tweet and blog the link in the morning -- followed by the series finale with the Tigers, Hiroki Kuroda (10-8, 3.19) vs. RHP Doug Fister (6-7, 3.52), first pitch at 1:05 p.m.