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Sunday, April 7, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Yankees 7, Tigers 0

By Wallace Matthews



DETROIT -- Call off the panic, at least for a day. The Yankees did not get rolled in Motown and on this day at least, their ace, CC Sabathia, was better than Detroit's ace, Justin Verlander, which means that on this day, Sabathia was once again one of the best starting pitchers in baseball. And while the Knicks were winning big at the Garden, The Nix was helping the Yankees win big in Comerica. Almost makes you forget what happened over the previous six days.

What it means: That the Yankees roll into Cleveland on a high note rather than trudging in after being swept by the Tigers. Their 7-0 win over Detroit and the incomparable Verlander snapped a six-game losing streak against the Tigers and allowed them to avoid their worst start to a season in nearly a quarter-century, when the 1989 Yankees, on the way to a 74-win season, started out 1-7.

Ace high: CC Sabathia's V-Lo may still be a tick low -- he topped out at 92 today -- but his effectiveness was high as he held the powerful Tigers lineup to four singles, one an infield hit, through seven innings. Most impressively, he cut out the heart of the batting order -- Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez went 0-for-9 against him. Big-time performance from the big man.

You've been Cerved: The first clue that Verlander wasn't quite himself today came when Francisco Cervelli lashed an RBI double into the left-center gap, helped more than a little by a misread from Tigers LF Matt Tuiasosopo, in the second inning. Then again, it was Cervy's first time facing V-Lander. Maybe he's found a patsy. Cervelli added an RBI single in the two-run eighth off Phil Coke.

Nix Knox: The second clue, however, came two hitters later when Jayson Nix, who had one hit in 11 previous ABs versus V-Lander, crushed a two-run home run over the LF bullpen to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. Nix also had another single off Verlander in the seventh, and he capped a three-hit day with a single off Octavio Dotel leading off the eighth.

Robbie Can: It may seem hard to believe, but it took Robinson Cano six games to collect three hits. His fifth-inning single raised his batting average from .111 before the game to .130 after it.

Nunie's back, sort of: Eduardo Nunez is still unable to throw a ball or swing a bat since getting hit with a pitch in the right biceps Friday night. But he can still run, and Joe Girardi sent him in to run for Travis Hafner in the eighth inning. Nunie ended up scoring the Yankees' fourth run on Ichiro Suzuki's sacrifice fly.

Taking no chances: In addition to the two runs the Yankees tacked on in the eighth, they added another two in the ninth on Kevin Youkilis' two-run single off Dotel. For those of you concerned with such things, the Yanks were 3-for-10 with RISP.

Thanks, Mo: The Tigers honored Mariano Rivera before the game with a display case containing photos of him pitching at the old Tiger Stadium and here at Comerica, flanked by bottles containing infield dirt from both ballparks. And Joe Girardi gave Mo an inning of work in a non-save situation since he hadn't been on the mound since Thursday. The Comerica crowd gave him a nice ovation as he took the mound. Mo obliged by breaking a bat, teasing the crowd by allowing a pair of bloop singles and giving them some hope by allowing Austin Jackson to hit a long drive that Brett Gardner had to make a sliding catch on, before Mo struck out Torii Hunter to end the game. Now that's showmanship.