Series: Game 1 of 3

NY Yankees leads 1-0 (as of 5/30)

Game 1: Friday, May 30
NY Yankees6Final
Game 2: Saturday, May 31
NY Yankees2Final
Game 3: Sunday, June 1
NY Yankees10Final
in 17

Yankees 6

(32-22, 19-7 away)

Tigers 0

(13-39, 4-20 home)

    7:05 PM ET, May 30, 2003

    Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan 

    123456789 R H E
    NYY 201200010 6 10 1
    DET 000000000 0 4 0

    W: J. Contreras (2-1)

    L: G. Knotts (2-4)

    Contreras dominant in first career start

    DETROIT (AP) -- Jose Contreras made the New York Yankees' rotation a little more crowded.

    Contreras made an impressive pitch to remain a starter, allowing two hits in seven innings in his first career start as the Yankees beat Detroit 6-0 Friday night behind two homers by Jason Giambi.

    "Of course I'd like to, but it's not my decision," Contreras said about staying in the rotation. "I'm going to keep preparing for whatever role I'm needed."

    Contreras, who left Cuba and signed a $32 million, four-year contract with New York in the offseason, got a one-start trial in place of an injured David Wells.

    But with a strong first start, Jeff Weaver's recent struggles and owner George Steinbrenner's public wishes for Contreras to join the rotation, the Cuban defector's stay might not be so brief.

    "It's a nice problem to have," manager Joe Torre said. "In this game, things have a way of working themselves out. I'm not about to make any decision before I have to."

    The Yankees have won three straight following a season-high five-game skid, and coupled with Boston's loss in Toronto, they moved a half-game ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East.

    Detroit was shut out for the 10th time, in front of a crowd of 28,003, the largest at Comerica Park since opening day. The next closest teams in the AL are Baltimore and Toronto with four shutouts each.

    Contreras posted a 15.63 ERA through his first six relief appearances. But after struggling in his first game back from the minors, Contreras allowed one hit in five scoreless innings his past two outings.

    "I gave him the lineup card after the game," Torre said. "This was big for him."

    Contreras didn't give up a hit until Kevin Witt -- the only Tiger who had faced him -- doubled in the fifth. Witt faced Contreras in a Triple-A game earlier this year.

    Left fielder Juan Rivera helped Contreras out in the seventh when he made a leaping catch over the left-field wall to deny Dmitri Young a two-run homer.

    Contreras had 49 strikes in his 81-pitch outing. He struck out six and, walked one and had one wild pitch. His longest previous outing was four innings last Saturday when Wells hurt his right calf.

    "I had pretty good control of all my pitches," he said through an interpreter. "I felt really good."

    The Yankees had used the same five-man rotation -- in the same order -- for an AL-record 53 games until Contreras replaced Wells. The Tigers have used the same five pitchers for all 52 games this season, but have changed the order.

    Antonio Osuna and Chris Hammond finished the four-hitter for New York's fourth shutout of the season and first since April 17 against Toronto.

    Giambi has struggled this season with a sore left knee and a batting average of .214 entering the game. But he had no troubles against the Tigers, hitting a two-run shot in the first against Gary Knotts (2-4), a single in the fifth, and a solo shot in the eighth for his 11th homer.

    "That's as good as he's been at any time this year," Torre said.

    Hideki Matsui's groundout put New York ahead 3-0 in the third inning, and Derek Jeter's two-run single made it 5-0 in the fourth.

    "We fell behind early and never got a whole lot going," Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. "I don't know what else to say."

    Knotts gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out four over 4 1/3 innings. He was replaced by Steve Sparks after a 44-minute rain delay.

    Contreras' first strikeout as a starter was against leadoff hitter Alex Sanchez, who left Cuba eight years ago on a rickety, wooden raft. In the second, Contreras hustled to first base to complete a 3-6-1 double play.

    Contreras struck out Brandon Inge to end the fifth inning, after Sanchez reached first on Jeter's error, stole second and advanced on a wild pitch.

    "His split-finger is top shelf," Inge said. "I was looking for a split-finger. I saw it was up, so I thought I could pull it. It started above my belt and dropped into the dirt. I've never seen one like that before. I swung, missed and said 'Wow.'"

    Game notes
    It was Giambi's 21st multihomer game, and first since April 8. ... The Yankees plan to start Wells at the end of next week. ... Roger Clemens, who will make his second attempt at win No. 300 on Sunday, said it was more important for him to sleep well Friday because he always sleeps poorly the night before a game, regardless of the significance. ... Trammell said Carlos Pena (left calf strain) and Mike Maroth (right hamstring strain) will not go on the disabled list. ... The 1998 Twins held the previous AL record for having the same five-man rotation for 50 games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press