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  Sunday, May 14 1:05pm ET
Gonzalez delivers key hit for Tigers

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.

Dave Mlicki
Dave Mlicki won for the first time in seven decisions with four-hit ball for 8 2/3 innings.

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 of."

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 them."

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.

Game notes
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.

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