Yanks respond big-time to lineup shakeup
A restructured lineup produced immediate dividends Wednesday night for Yankees manager Joe Girardi. The experiment to use Curtis Granderson in the leadoff spot did not work out that well, so Girardi returned Derek Jeter to the top spot and moved Granderson down to the 6-hole in an effort to get him some RBI opportunities.
The change of scenery worked out splendidly for Granderson, who drove in four runs in his first two at-bats. He followed a run-scoring single in the first inning by Eric Chavez with one of his own and belted his 30th home run, a three-run shot, in the third. Granderson also doubled and scored in the seventh on a 3-for-5, 4-RBI night.
The rest of the lineup came through as well as the Yankees banged out 18 hits in a 12-8 victory over the Tigers to end Detroit’s six-game winning streak and a 10-gamer at Comerica Park, the team’s longest home streak in 63 years. All 10 players who got into the game for the Yankees had hits, and six had multi hits with Granderson and Robinson Cano getting three apiece.
In the previous five games in the leadoff spot, Granderson had only two singles and struck out six times in 20 at-bats. Overall, he has hit .121 in 33 at-bats as a leadoff hitter this year. The center fielder was also fighting a second-half slump. He entered play Wednesday night batting .213 with six home runs and 14 RBI in 23 games and 95 at-bats since the All-Star break with his season batting average plummeting to .240.
Girardi’s move took some pressure off Granderson, who looked more like himself Wednesday night. Most of his production has come in the 2-hole where he has 25 of his home runs and 52 of his RBI, but the 6-hole has also been a productive spot for him. Granderson has hit .302 with four home runs and 11 RBI in 43 at-bats as a sixth place hitter. Nick Swisher batted second and reached base five times with two singles and three walks.
The two-run first inning was welcomed by CC Sabathia, whom the Yankees were relying on to get them back on the winning track after dropping the first two games at Detroit. The Yankees built their advantage to 7-0 in the fourth, but the Tigers kept crawling back with some help from shaky fielding by the Yanks.
They had not made an error in 12 consecutive games before Cano booted a grounder in the sixth, although it did not figure in the scoring. A misplay at third base by Casey McGehee in the seventh did, however, and contributed to an early hook for Sabathia, who gave up five runs (three earned) and eight hits with a walk, a hit batter and seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
Reliever David Robertson yielded four consecutive singles as the Tigers turned an 8-3 score into 8-7. But the Yankees scored two runs in the eighth and two more after two were out in the ninth to get the victory for Sabathia, who at 12-3 took over the staff lead in victories. CC is unbeaten in his past eight starts, a stretch in which he has a 5-0 record with a 3.51 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 56 1/3 innings.