Verlander tries to pitch to Tigers to another sweep of Yankees

8:23 AM, Apr 7, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - A pair of former Cy Young Award winners in CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander will be on the mound Sunday afternoon when the New York Yankees wrap up their three-game series in Detroit.

The Yankees, who were swept by the Tigers in last year's ALCS, will try to avoid another whitewash at Comerica Park. Detroit hasn't swept the Yankees since April 29 - May 1, 2008 and that was in the Bronx. The last time the Tigers swept the Yankees in the Motor City was May 12-14, 2000, also a three- game series.

Sabathia, the 2007 Cy Young winner with the Indians, got his 2013 season off to a rough start Monday in an 8-2 loss to the Red Sox. The lefty was tagged for four runs -- all in the second inning -- on eight hits over five frames. He walked four and struck out five.

Over his career, Sabathia has fashioned an 18-12 record 4.43 ERA in 35 regular season starts against the Tigers. During the ALCS last year, Sabathia pitched in one game, the final one when he gave up 11 hits and six runs -- five earned -- over 3 2/3 innings in New York's 8-1 defeat.

New York's 8-4 loss yesterday put the Yankees at 1-4. They haven't started a season 1-5 since 1989 when they dropped seven of their first eight games. That year, the Yankees went 74-87 and finished in fifth place in the AL East.

Just days removed from signing a five-year $140 million extension, Verlander scattered three hits and struck out seven over five scoreless frames in a 4-2 season-opening win over the Twins. Verlander was removed after pitching in adverse conditions. The game-time temperature peaked at 35 degrees and winds reached as high 17 mph throughout the contest at Target Field.

Verlander is 5-4 with a 3.74 ERA in 13 career regular season games against the Yankees.

Reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera has been on a tear for the Tigers. He went 4-for-4 with an RBI single yesterday. He has collected at least one RBI in each of Detroit's first five games of the season. Cabrera is the first Tigers player since Bobby Higginson collected at least one RBI in each of the club's first five games April 5-10, 2004.

Detroit had 17 hits yesterday on the day they received their American League Championship rings.

Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter each collected three hits for Detroit, with Jackson scoring three runs and Hunter delivering an RBI double during a four- run fifth inning. Prince Fielder drove in a pair of runs in the triumph.

Jackson, Hunter and Cabrera -- the top three hitters in the Tigers' potent lineup -- combined to go 10-for-14 with seven runs scored.

"I think it puts more pressure on the other team when those guys are out there and you've got the big guys coming up," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "That's pretty stressful."

The offensive outburst enabled Max Scherzer (1-0) to win his 2013 debut despite allowing four runs over five-plus innings, though the hard-throwing righty did record seven strikeouts prior to exiting.

Phil Hughes (0-1), activated from the disabled list prior to the game, was reached for four runs -- three earned -- on eight hits through four-plus innings to take the loss.

Lyle Overbay finished 2-for-4 with a two-run single for New York, off to its first 1-4 start since 2006, while Vernon Wells had a solo homer in the loss.

"I think it's just a rough start. We've got to get it turned around," Yankees manager Joe Girardi remarked. "It doesn't get any easier tomorrow with [Justin] Verlander, but we've got to get it turned around. We're swinging the bats OK. We've got to get the pitching turned around a little bit."

Hunter enters today five hits shy of 2,000 for his career.

Detroit lost six of its 10 regular season meetings to the Yankees in 2012.

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