- Wallace Matthews, ESPN Staff Writer
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What it means: That after a nearly-disastrous start, the Yankees get out of Detroit with a split of this four-game series, rallying behind their feisty manager and a pair of bombs from the middle of their batting order to pull out a dramatic win.
Belly-to-belly: Mark Teixeira (No. 20) and Eric Chavez (No. 12) hit consecutive pitches for solo home runs in the eighth inning off Joaquin Benoit to provide the tying and winning runs. It was the eighth time this season the Yankees have hit back-to-back home runs.
Working overtime: Rafael Soriano earned his second four-out save of the year, but not without some jitters. Soriano had the tying and winning runs on base in the ninth, allowing a double and a single to the first two batters, then getting the next two to pop out to the infield and the final out on a broken-bat fly to center. Soriano's 27th save in 29 opportunities.
Hit the road, Joe: Manager Joe Girardi, normally about as confrontational as the Dalai Lama, got the red patootie over a 3B ump Tim Welke's confusing call on Andy Dirks' bloop double that put the Tigers ahead in the fifth inning and earned his third ejection of the season, all in games against the Tigers. Welke's "it's-foul-no-it's-fair'' routine brought out the best in Girardi, who staged an entertaining freakout that Billy Martin would have been proud of, punctuated by his firing his cap to the ground and then stalking off the field waving his arms in imitation of what he thought Welke did as the crowd roared. This is the kind of thing we need to see more of from the Yankees manager.
Line drives in the box score: Once again, Hiroki Kuroda had meager run support, and of the 10 hits he allowed, five never left the infield.
Just looking: In what looked like it might turn out to be a key at-bat of the game -- two out, runner at third, Yanks trailing 3-2 in the sixth, Nick Swisher looked a fastball from Octavio Dotel to end the threat. Swisher also hit two rockets and came up empty, the second on a terrific play by Prince Fielder in the ninth.
Eric the red (hot): Chavez' second-inning single gave him 13 hits in his previous 27 at-bats. He is batting .400 since taking over as the everyday third baseman when Alex Rodriguez went down with a broken hand, and has raised his overall average from .266 to .289 over that span.
Triple threat: Hard to believe, but only one Yankee (Curtis Granderson) has more triples than the 40-year-old Ibanez, who hit one over Tiger CF Quintin Berry's head in the second inning, his second triple of the year, to drive in the Yankees first run of the game.
Take a walk, Ichiro: After 62 plate appearances as a Yankee, Suzuki finally drew his first walk, with two out in the fourth inning. No, he was not given first base as a souvenir.
What's coming: A column on Joltin' Joe Girardi, who was hotter than Kate Upton in that fifth inning. Can't wait to hear what he has to say after this one.
And then?: Flight to Toronto for a three-game weekend series with the Blue Jays. The pitching matchups: Freddy Garcia (5-5, 5.00) vs. LHP Rickey Romero (8-8, 5.47) Friday night at 7:07 p.m.; Ivan Nova (10-6, 4.81) vs. LHP Aaron Laffey (3-2, 4.39) Saturday at 1:07 p.m.; Phil Hughes (11-9, 4.10) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (0-1, 6.35) Sunday at 1:07 p.m.
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18hAndrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews