DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera hit two prodigious homers and Omir Santos' sacrifice fly in the ninth inning gave the Detroit Tigers a wild 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday night.
Detroit overcame a blown save by Jose Valverde (3-1) and an awful night of defense from Santos, a third-string catcher pressed into duty because of injuries. Santos made two errors and allowed five stolen bases – but his fly to right off Boone Logan with the bases loaded in the ninth was deep enough to score Brennan Boesch.
David Phelps (1-2) took the loss.
Valverde hit two batters and walked two in the ninth, allowing New York to tie it after Cabrera's homer onto a camera platform gave Detroit a 3-2 lead.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi and hitting coach Kevin Long were ejected in the seventh.
Boesch hit a one-out single in the ninth off Phelps and went to third on a single by Jhonny Peralta. Logan came in, and Ramon Santiago pinch-hit for left fielder Don Kelly. The Yankees ended up intentionally walking Santiago to load the bases for Santos.
Santiago was Detroit's only healthy position player on the bench because of injuries to catchers Alex Avila and Gerald Laird and outfielder Andy Dirks. If the game had gone to extra innings, the Tigers may have had to lose their designated hitter by moving Delmon Young to left – or perhaps Cabrera could have gone to the outfield.
But Santos made all that moot with his winning fly.
Valverde pitched about as poorly as possible without giving up a hit in the ninth. He hit Russell Martin with a pitch to start the inning, and pinch-runner Dewayne Wise stole second. Derek Jeter appeared to be trying to bunt, but Valverde walked him. After Curtis Granderson's flyout, the Yankees pulled off a double steal, and Valverde plunked Alex Rodriguez to load the bases.
Robinson Cano popped out, but Valverde walked Mark Teixeira on a 3-2 pitch to tie it. Santos kept the rally alive by missing a popup in foul territory for an error, but Raul Ibanez grounded out, leaving the game tied at 3.
Cabrera hit solo homers in the fourth and eighth, each well beyond the wall in center. The second homer – his 11th of the year – traveled an estimated 433 feet, but that only measured how far the ball went before disappearing into the camera structure, not where it would have landed.
Cabrera opened the scoring with a 436-foot shot in the fourth. The ball sailed beyond Granderson in center and hit the ivy-covered barrier above two levels of bushes beyond the outfield wall – a bit to the right of where his second homer ended up.
Kelly, playing in left with Dirks out, reached above the wall to rob Teixeira of what was nearly an opposite-field home run in the fourth. In the fifth, Kelly singled and scored on Quintin Berry's single to make it 2-0.
Ibanez had a run-scoring groundout in the sixth for New York.
Rick Porcello allowed a run and six hits in six innings for the Tigers, and Detroit held on through an eventful seventh. Phil Coke allowed consecutive singles to start the inning, and Joaquin Benoit came on for the Tigers.
After Jeter's sacrifice, Granderson hit a foul pop toward the New York dugout that made it out of play. Plate umpire Bob Davidson then signaled an ejection, and Girardi came out onto the field to argue. In an animated argument near home plate, Girardi threw his hat to the ground, and by the time it was over, he and Long had both been tossed.
Granderson struck out, and Rodriguez reached for an outside pitch and hit a popup to end the inning.
New York starter Hiroki Kuroda allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings.
NOTES: There was a 39-minute rain delay in the bottom of the first. ... Detroit's Prince Fielder extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a fourth-inning double. ... Girardi said "everything went well" with RHP David Robertson's throwing session. Robertson has a strained oblique. Girardi also said RHP Joba Chamberlain threw a "half-mound" – he dislocated his ankle in March. ... New York RHP David Aardsma, who had elbow ligament replacement surgery last July, threw 20 pitches during his first batting practice session at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla. ... Detroit ace Justin Verlander (5-3) takes the mound Saturday against Phil Hughes (4-5).