Cano breaking out of slump
The Yankees’ recent 2-6 trip through Los Angeles, San Diego and Chicago’s South Side was particularly rough for Robinson Cano, who had only five hits in 30 at-bats. Cano showed signs of getting back into action with a 431-foot bomb of a home run in the trek’s last game Wednesday night. It would have been a game winner, too, if the White Sox had not come back to score twice in the bottom of the 12th for the victory.
Cano had an RBI opportunity right away Friday night against the Tigers in his first at-bat against Rick Porcello with runners on first and second, but he grounded out. Cano had the same situation in the third inning and this time came through with a well-struck double to left-center that sent both runners to the plate and increased the Yankees’ lead to 3-0. Cano got to third base on the throw home but was stranded there as Alfonso Soriano and Alex Rodriguez struck out and Curtis Granderson grounded out.
Cano came to bat with another runner in scoring position in the fifth. Leadoff man Brett Gardner reached base for the third time with a single, advanced to second on an infield out and stole third. The Tigers decided to walk Cano purposely this time and take their chances against Soriano, who struck out, and Rodriguez, who flied out to right field.
Detroit came to town on a 12-game winning streak and boasting a seven-game lead in the American League Central. The Yankees caught one break because Max Scherzer and his 17-1 record will not start in this series. The Yankees do have to contend with Justin Verlander in the series finale Sunday, however. Oddly, Scherzer was ejected from Friday night’s game in the seventh inning by plate umpire Will Little for arguing from the dugout a third strike call against teammate Torii Hunter.
Ivan Nova took a while to get his rhythm, but he did show off an effective curveball early that helped him get out of jams. The Tigers did not lack for base runners. They did lack for a clutch hit. Detroit left nine runners on base over the first five innings and were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position over that stretch. Nova did not have his first 1-2-3 inning until the sixth.