Yankees overpowering

Jeter, Abreu lead offense

shaky bullpen preserves Game 1 victory

Yankees 8 Tigers 4

October 04, 2006|By Jim Baumbach | Jim Baumbach,Newsday

NEW YORK -- Outscoring and then outlasting, it's the new brand of New York Yankees postseason baseball. They unveiled it last night with an offensively charged 8-4 win over the Detroit Tigers that had its share of stressful outs.

Derek Jeter went 5-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and three runs scored and Bobby Abreu drove in four runs as the Yankees' lineup of All-Stars provided enough hitting in the opener of the best-of-five American League Division Series.

"We just don't have that kind of firepower," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who added he needs a total team contribution to overcome New York.

But with the Yankees' greatest October weapon, Mariano Rivera, unavailable to pitch more than an inning because his right elbow is not 100 percent, securing late-game outs was taxing.

Last night, however, the Yankees managed, as Scott Proctor got Magglio Ordonez to fly to center to end the seventh while representing the potential tying run. Then Kyle Farnsworth rebounded from a leadoff walk in the eighth for a scoreless inning.

Rivera pitched the ninth, allowing only a bloop single, and Chien-Ming Wang gained the win after allowing three runs in 6 2/3 innings. But the Yankees know it's their multimillion-dollar offense that is most deserving of the win, led by their captain and Most Valuable Player candidate.

"He just seems to relish this atmosphere," Yankees manager Joe Torre said of Jeter. "He's been so big for us for 11 years here."

Jeter had his best offensive postseason game, capping his night with a bases-empty homer to center field off left-hander Jamie Walker in the eighth that gave the Yankees a four-run cushion.

"Basically, it was one of those days," Jeter said. "It doesn't happen too often."

It didn't take long for the Yankees to flex their muscles, breaking out with a five-run third inning highlighted by Jason Giambi's two-run homer to right off loser Nate Robertson.

But the Tigers weren't ready to go away silently, at least not yet. They put aside the disappointment of wasting leadoff doubles in the second and third and responded to the Yankees' first strike with a three-run fifth, pulling within 5-3.

Craig Monroe hit a leadoff homer to straightaway center, and Placido Polanco and Sean Casey hit consecutive two-out RBI doubles to give Detroit some life. But the Yankees pushed back with a two-run sixth, with the runs scoring with two outs thanks to the top three hitters in the order.

After Johnny Damon singled and Jeter doubled, Abreu came through with his second two-run hit, a single through the right side that made it 7-3.

The Yankees' five-run third began with a slow roller by Damon that Robertson dove for but couldn't get. The inning took off from there, in swift and powerful fashion. Jeter lined a full-count pitch to left-center and turned it into a double by hustling, putting men on second and third. That brought up Abreu, who came in with only three at-bats of postseason experience, with the Astros back in 1997. But if Abreu was nervous, he didn't show it. He lined a 1-1 pitch to right-center for a two-run double, and Gary Sheffield drove him in with a first-pitch single to left.

Jim Baumbach writes for Newsday. The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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