Updated: 8/18/10 7:33 a.m.
NEW YORK (AP/WFAN) — The New York Yankees are going to need several more performances like CC Sabathia’s on Tuesday night to help compensate for the loss of Alex Rodriguez’s big bat.
Sabathia was dominant again at home for seven innings, helping offset the loss of A-Rod to a left calf strain, and Nick Swisher had a two-run single in a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
“CC knows how to shut the door,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “When he needs to make an adjustment he’s able to do it.”
Rodriguez hurt his calf Monday and left the Yankees’ loss to Detroit after four innings. He had an MRI on Tuesday night and it showed a low grade strain. He is day to day, and the slugger is not sure how long he will be out.
“I feel surprisingly better than I thought,” Rodriguez said. “Hopefully it’ll just be a day-to-day thing.”
Rodriguez said he will not give it a try Wednesday against the Tigers.
“I anticipate it will be a few days, including today,” Girardi said.
Said general manager Brian Cashman: “It’s not a serious situation but it’s obviously serious for the fact that we don’t have him for a period of time. … We’ll give him a couple of days of rest now, that he’ll have to have.”
Curtis Granderson homered against his former team and Robinson Cano connected from the cleanup spot for New York. Cano moved up a spot in the order with Rodriguez out.
Brett Gardner had two hits, scored twice and stole a base from the leadoff spot a night after making an aggressive slide into second base in an attempt to break up a game-ending double play. Tigers second baseman Carlos Guillen injured his knee on the play and sat out Tuesday — and had an MRI. There was no retaliation, though.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said the “MRI was clean, and right now we’re saying he’s day to day.”
Sabathia (16-5) became the AL’s first 16-game winner and improved to 14-0 in his last 19 regular-season starts at home, a streak that began with seven scoreless innings against his opponent Tuesday, Justin Verlander, on July 18, 2009.
The big lefty started Tuesday by giving up a homer to former Yankees prospect Austin Jackson on the first pitch but settled down to mow through the Tigers’ lineup until Brandon Inge led off the seventh with a homer.
Sabathia gave up five hits over seven innings. He helped end the Tigers’ first three-game winning streak since they won five straight from July 5-10. Sabathia struck out nine and walked three after giving up six runs in six innings against Verlander (13-8) and the Tigers on May 13.
David Robertson pitched the eighth to run his scoreless streak to 16 2-3 innings over 17 appearances. Mariano Rivera worked a scoreless ninth.
The Yankees hoped to take advantage of Verlander’s habit of struggling in the first inning, and they did. Verlander’s opponents have a .293 batting average in the first and are hitting just .222 the rest of the way.
Gardner led off with a single and Derek Jeter walked. After an out and a walk, Swisher, batting lefty, lined a single to the opposite field for two runs.
“It was nice to get out there, especially against Verlander, their ace, to put some runs on the board,” Swisher said. “CC, our horse, took care of the rest.”
New York broke form a bit in the second, when Granderson led off with a homer to right-center, his 12th this season. Ramiro Pena then singled, but the Yankees did not get another hit in Verlander’s five innings.
Verlander matched a season high with five walks and struck out five, four in his last two innings.
“The only thing I can say is that this is probably the worst I’ve felt on the mound as a professional baseball player,” Verlander said. “Nothing was any good.”
The Yankees added a run in the sixth and two more in the seventh against Daniel Schlereth. Jeter had a run-scoring single after Gardner hit a bloop double down the right-field line in the sixth, and Cano led off the seventh with his 22nd homer. Pena hit a sacrifice fly to make it 6-2.
NOTES: Tigers catcher Gerald Laird was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh because he broke a blood vessel in his arm and it swelled up, preventing him from straightening it, Leyland said. Laird is day to day. … Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte threw 40 pitches before going for a precautionary MRI on his injured left groin. The test showed a “small persistent strain” and he will only throw on flat ground for a week. Girardi doesn’t expect Pettitte back now until September. … Tigers RF Brennan Boesch struck out his first three times up.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)