Tigers halt Yankees’ winning streak
DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees are in similar situations. The help they need to make the playoffs has to come from within.
Detroit took a step in the right direction Tuesday night when right-hander Rick Porcello reached 15 victories for the first time in his six-year career and J.D. Martinez had three hits good for three runs in a 5-2 Tigers’ victory over the Yankees.
“We’ve got to find a way to win a game Wednesday,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We’ve got to stop it (losing) right now. And we’re facing a good pitcher (lefty David Price).”
Detroit won its third in a row while stopping a five-game New York winning streak. The Yankees are three games behind the Tigers and the Seattle Mariners, who are tied for the second wild card spot.
“I’m well aware of the Yankees’ involvement in the wild card race,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. “I think any time the Yankees and the Tigers get together it seems to be a semi-big series at the bare minimum.”
The first eight outs recorded by Porcello (15-8) came on ground balls, and although he allowed nine hits the right-hander had two runners on just once — singles in the fourth separated by an out — and escaped that jam unscathed with a force-out and fly ball out.
The runs he allowed came on solo home runs by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who now has 15. Ellsbury is also 11-for-17 against Porcello with four homers.
“A lot of guys have a lot of hits off me,” Porcello deadpanned.
Porcello was coming off a three-hit shutout in his previous start. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out two. He also threw two double play balls, upping his total to 28 this season.
Left fielder J.D. Martinez singled and scored on a bases-loaded walk that right-hander Brandon McCarthy (5-3 with New York, 8-13 overall) issued in the second. His RBI single in the third made it 2-0, and he doubled and scored in Detroit’s two-run sixth.
Right fielder Torii Hunter added an RBI single in the seventh.
“The runs were because I wasn’t in a groove,” McCarthy said. “I wasn’t sharp from the get-go.
It was one of those days where you don’t feel as good, where the ball isn’t going where it’s supposed to go.
“It stinks because as you get closer to the end (of the season), the games become more important.”
Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 28th save, possibly buoyed by “Let’s Go Joe” chants. Nathan gave Tigers’ fans a nasty couple of chin-flicks (an obscene gesture in some parts of the world) when he was finished with a less-than-perfect recent outing.
Porcello professed not to be concerned about his win total.
“I’m happy to be able to go out there and contribute,” he said. “It’s a great atmosphere. There was a lot of excitement.
“The playoffs are the most important thing right now. Personal success comes from team success.”
“He did a real good job,” Ausmus said. “I think from the get-go his sinker was down, which is always the key for him.
“He’s really come a long way in terms of getting left-handed hitters out, which helps against this lineup. Because obviously with their switch hitters, left-handed bats, there’s not many righties.
“I think (shortstop Derek) Jeter and (second baseman Martin) Prado might have been the only righties in the lineup. He’s done an excellent job all year, and this is another excellent game.”
NOTES: Derek Jeter was in New York’s lineup as the designated hitter for the eighth time this season. “My job is to show up every day and play,” he said. ... Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez, on the disabled list since Aug. 9, experienced a setback Monday when he felt strain in his right pectoral muscle while throwing off flat ground. Sanchez was apprehensive about pitching again but reported feeling better Tuesday. ... Yankees LF Brett Gardner was out of the lineup for a third consecutive game due to a bruised right ankle. ... 1B Miguel Cabrera returned to the lineup after missing the Tigers’ previous game (Sunday) with a right ankle sprain.