There was no bench-clearing brawl between the Yankees and Tigers yesterday, because as we said before the game, these things rarely play out exactly as you’d expect. (And even when they kind of do, Shawn Estes throws well behind a certain indicted pitcher.) The Yankees can’t mind the lack of fisticuffs, partially because they arguably started all this and don’t need anyone getting punched during a pennant race, but mostly because they won the game in a laugher.
It wasn’t very long ago (it was Monday, to be specific) that the Yankees were in danger of getting shut out in consecutive games for the first time in over a decade. Yesterday, they scored nine times in the sixth inning. If we were John Sterling, we’d say that you can’t predict baseball. But we are not John Sterling, so instead we’ll say that it’s a bigger surprise when they score zero times than it is when they score eleven times — maybe not in October, but at least against a staff like Detroit’s.
The 11-5 win put the Yankees back atop the A.L. East all by themselves, a game ahead of Tampa Bay and six and a half in front of Boston. And this weekend brings to town a far worse team than Detroit, from whom they won three straight after dropping the opener, righting a ship that had gone slightly off course in Kansas City. The Mariners, however, will start Felix Hernandez in the opener tonight, and you’ll recall that the last time he pitched in the Bronx, the Yankees couldn’t touch him. A.J. Burnett gets the start for the Yanks.