Tigers ride Kinsler's five RBIs to victory over Yankees
NEW YORK (AP) -- Ian Kinsler was surprised to learn he had never driven in five runs in a game before.
"That's terrible," he joked after his three-run homer and two-RBI double led the Detroit Tigers to a 6-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday night.
With plenty of offensive support from his second baseman, Justin Verlander also did his part to finally win in the new Yankee Stadium. Verlander (6-5) allowed one run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings and struck out five to snap New York's five-game winning streak. He had been 0-4 with a 4.84 ERA in seven starts at this park, which opened in 2009.
Nick Castellanos also homered, and No. 9 hitter Jose Iglesias was 2 for 4 and scored twice, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.
New York's No. 9 hitter, Rob Refsnyder, went 2 for 3 and drove in its only run. Normally a second baseman who's starting at first because four Yankees who play that position are on the disabled list, Refsnyder had been 0 for his last 12.
Masahiro Tanaka (3-2) allowed five runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings for New York, striking out four. He had given up two or fewer earned runs in 10 of his 12 starts this season.
Tanaka has fared better on five days' rest than on four.
"I'm sure there's something to it," Joe Girardi said, "but as a manager, when you're playing 40 out of 41 days, you can't have a six-man rotation; you just can't do it. Your roster would be all screwed up."
Tigers reliever Alex Wilson loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. But with the tying run in the on-deck circle, closer Francisco Rodriguez got Chase Headley to ground out to convert his 18th straight save opportunity.
With the score tied in the fifth, Justin Upton and Iglesias singled, then Kinsler hit a high fly down the left-field line that hooked around the foul pole for a 4-1 lead.
"I still don't think it's fair," he said with a chuckle.
Tanaka departed after allowing a one-out single to James McCann in the seventh. Kirby Yates came on and immediately gave up a single to Iglesias and the double to Kinsler to make it 6-1.
Castellanos homered to lead off the top of the second for a 1-0 lead.
Kinsler has 12 home runs in 2016, already exceeding his total for all of last season. He hasn't hit more than 19 since topping 30 in 2009 and '11 with the Rangers.
He's been trying to become more of a line drive than a fly ball hitter in recent years, Kinsler said, and it can take time to regain home run power with the new approach. On Saturday, Kinsler delivered the big hits on a night when Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez were a combined 0 for 7.
"He's a catalyst," manager Brad Ausmus. "He brings a little attitude to the ballpark -- in a good way."
With one out in the bottom of the third, Headley battled Verlander for a 10-pitch at-bat and finally drove a ball down the left-field line that hit near the base of the foul pole. It was ruled a triple on the field, and the call was upheld on review after a delay of 2 minutes, 40 seconds. Headley may not have gotten the home run, but he promptly scored anyway when Refsnyder singled him in on the first pitch he saw to tie the game.
Verlander threw 28 pitches in the inning and said that "zapped" him on a humid night.
"Was able to stay out there to save as much of the bullpen as I could," Verlander said. "Our guys put up some runs against a tough pitcher."
Tigers: Rookie RHP Michael Fulmer (6-1) brings in a streak of 22 1/3 scoreless innings as he seeks his fifth straight win.
Yankees: RHP Michael Pineda (3-6) made it through seven innings for the first time in 23 starts in a win over the Angels in his last outing.