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Tigers 6, Yankees 0

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DETROIT (AP)

On Monday, the Detroit Tigers pitching staff seemed to be on the verge of collapse.

Three days later, everything is fine.

Justin Verlander kept up a much-needed success streak for the Detroit rotation, throwing 6 2-3 shutout innings in the Tigers' 6-0 victory over CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees on Thursday.

Miguel Cabrera homered, doubled and drove in three runs for the Tigers, who took three of four from New York. The Yankees had only lost one other series this season.

``I thought we pitched very well against a team with a relentless offense,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ``There's no place to relax against the Yankees from one to nine.''

After a string of poor starts and Dontrelle Willis having to be scratched Monday with the flu, the Tigers were heading into Tuesday's scheduled game with just three available relievers.

They got a break, though, as the game was rained out. Rick Porcello and Jeremy Bonderman then combined to allow just two runs in 14 innings of Wednesday's doubleheader split. Detroit won the opener 2-0 and lost the nightcap 8-0 after New York scored six runs in the top of the ninth.

Verlander picked up where Porcello and Bonderman left off. Joel Zumaya and Eddie Bonine finished off the shutout.

``That was absolutely huge,'' Leyland said. ``Porcello, Bondo and Verlander saved us against a great hitting team.''

Verlander said he hopes that the three strong outings are the sign of a resurgence for Detroit's struggling rotation.

``You can see that the starters are finally coming around,'' he said. ``If we turn the corner, with the offense and the bullpen playing the way they are, this team is capable of anything.''

Verlander (4-2) won his third straight start, giving up four hits and four walks in 6 2-3 innings.

Sabathia (4-2) lost for just the third time in his last 13 road games, allowing six runs on nine hits in six innings.

``Verlander was throwing well, and I was trying to keep the score where it was,'' Sabathia said. ``I just couldn't do it.''

Cabrera and Brennan Boesch gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead with back-to-back homers down the right-field line in the fourth. Cabrera added a two-run double in the sixth.

``Cabrera's a great hitter, and he hurt us today,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ``Boesch has swung the bat extremely well for them, and he kept doing it against us.''

Left fielder Don Kelly preserved the shutout with an outstanding catch to end the eighth. The Yankees put two on against Joel Zumaya, but Kelly grabbed Randy Winn's long fly just before running into the wall.

Detroit took the lead in the second on Gerald Laird's check-swing, RBI single.

After Cabrera and Boesch extended the lead, Jorge Posada hit a two-out double off Verlander in the sixth, but newly recalled Juan Miranda popped out to end the threat.

The Tigers then put the game away in the bottom half. Johnny Damon and Magglio Ordonez led off with singles and Cabrera doubled to deep center field.

Laird made it 6-0 with a two-out, RBI double - his seventh hit in 15 career at-bats against Sabathia.

``I don't know what it is - he's a great pitcher, but I've always seemed to have good at-bats against him,'' he said. ``Obviously, my first hit was kind of a fluke, but I put a good swing on the double.''

Zumaya replaced Verlander with two on and two out in the top of the seventh, and got Mark Teixeira to fly out.

``We just didn't swing the bat well in Detroit,'' Girardi said. ``You go through periods where you don't score a lot of runs, but you've still got to find a way to win some of those games, and we aren't doing that.''

NOTES: Derek Jeter ended a 0-for-16 slump with an infield single to start the game. He stayed in the game after being hit in the right hand by a Verlander fastball in the fifth. ... Several Tigers got Mohawk haircuts between games of Wednesday's doubleheader, including most of the relief pitchers. Closer Jose Valverde was one of the few exceptions, despite originally telling the other relievers that he would go along. ... With Nick Swisher (biceps) on the bench, the Yankees called up Miranda from Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre and optioned out infielder Kevin Russo. ... Yankees reliever Ivan Nova made his major-league debut, pitching two shutout innings of relief.

Tagged: Tigers, Yankees, CC Sabathia, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Joel Zumaya, Don Kelly, Rick Porcello

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