DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Tigers hope they learned something
good about themselves this weekend.
Dave Mlicki pitched four-hit ball for 8 2/3 innings as the
Tigers finished a surprising three-game sweep of the New York
Yankees with a 2-1 win Sunday.
The Tigers, still with the worst record in the majors at 12-23,
had scored only two runs in four games leading up to the series
with the two-time World Series champions and hadn't won more than
two straight all season.
But they battered Roger Clemens in a 9-7 win Friday, whipped
Andy Pettitte in a 6-3 victory Saturday and had just enough left to
beat David Cone for the sweep.
"We came out the first day with an air of confidence and
carried it through the weekend," Detroit manager Phil Garner said.
Brad Ausmus, who was 2-for-3 and scored a run Sunday, thought it
was more a matter of intensity than confidence.
"When the Yankees come to town against any team, it's easy to
get mentally prepared to play them," Ausmus said. "But good teams
do it against everyone."
Ausmus also recalled last season, when the Tigers swept an April
series from the Yankees at Tiger Stadium but couldn't get any
momentum from it en route to a 69-92 record.
Garner didn't want to hear about it.
"I don't know what happened a year ago; don't tell me," Garner
said. "I just know we played well this weekend."
New York, which began the series with the best record in the AL,
lost its season-high four in a row and fell a half-game behind
Boston in the AL East.
"In a 162-game schedule there's a lot of peaks and valleys,"
Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "Give them credit. I don't think
it's any inadequacy on our part, as much as they were ready to play
us and did a good job."
Mlicki (1-6), who entered with a 7.25 ERA, outdueled David Cone
(1-3) and retired 15 straight batters at one stretch.
"It's a big win for everyone," Mlicki said. "When you can
sweep the Yankees it shows us and everyone else what we're capable
Mlicki had allowed only one runner since the second inning when
he took a 2-0 lead into the ninth. But with two outs, he issued his
first two walks of the game -- to Tino Martinez and Jorge Posada --
and was relieved by Todd Jones.
"I wished Mlicki could've finished the game," Garner said,
"but I think he was starting to aim the ball a little bit."
Jones gave up an RBI single to Shane Spencer, then retired Scott
Brosius on a routine fly ball for his 10th save.
Mlicki was the winning pitcher in the final game of Detroit's
home sweep of the Yankees last year -- the last time New York was
swept in a three-game road series before this weekend.
"That was my first start last year," Mlicki said. "It's fun
to get up for big games. That's what you're out there for."
Mlicki struck out four but mainly kept the Yankees off balance
with an assortment of offspeed pitches.
"He was around the zone," New York's Bernie Williams. "He
threw the offspeed stuff and was throwing it for strikes, so it was
kind of tough today. Certainly very frustrating."
Cone fell to 0-3 on the road, allowing two runs and eight hits
in seven innings.
"I thought I was a little flat early, but as the game
progressed I got a little better," Cone said. "I had a pretty
good curveball today but I'm still kind of struggling with my
slider. I thought my fastball was a little short, but I went to
more two-seamers and sunk 'em and had pretty good action on 'em."
Torre said Cone was good enough to win.
"He gave it to us. He gave up two runs in seven innings,"
Torre said. "We don't score, so you have to tip your hat to
Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the third when Ausmus doubled down
the right-field line and scored on Juan Gonzalez's single.
The RBI was only Gonzalez's 10th of the season, and he's just
3-for-31 with runners in scoring position.
Deivi Cruz doubled and Juan Encarnacion's RBI single made it 2-0
in the fifth.
|Dave Mlicki won for the first time in seven decisions with four-hit ball for 8 2/3 innings.|
An emergency siren at Comerica Park accidentally went off
in the top of the eighth inning for about 30 seconds. The game was
briefly stopped, but no problems were discovered. ... The Tigers
have won three straight for the first time since a six-game winning
streak last September. ... Yankees 2B Chuck Knoblauch made his
second throwing error of the series in the second inning, a play
that left Tigers on second and third with two outs. Spencer then
made a fine running catch of Shane Halter's liner to left. ...
Spencer went 3-for-4. He began the game in a 2-for-26 slump. ...
Luis Polonia, who was Detroit's leadoff batter in his previous 23
starts this season, batted fifth behind Gonzalez. Newly acquired
outfielder Rich Becker batted first. ... Mlicki has two career
shutouts, one of them against the Yankees in an interleague game.
... The Yankees were swept in a three-game series for the first
time since Boston did it last September in Yankee Stadium.
NY Yankees Clubhouse
Kansas City 5
NY Yankees 1
Tampa Bay 2
Chi. White Sox 5
NY Mets 5
Chicago Cubs 15
St. Louis 12
Los Angeles 10
San Francisco 7
San Diego 3