DETROIT -- Aaron Hicks had to motor around the bases for his first home run of the season on Friday night. He was able to take his time when he hit his second a few innings later.Hicks connected for a pair of home runs, including an inside-the-parker, and the Yankees
DETROIT -- Aaron Hicks had to motor around the bases for his first home run of the season on Friday night. He was able to take his time when he hit his second a few innings later.
Hicks connected for a pair of home runs, including an inside-the-parker, and the Yankees staved off a late Tigers rally for an 8-6 series-opening win at Comerica Park.
"Yeah, I liked the first [homer better]. It was a lot more exciting," Hicks said. "Once you're rounding that third bag there, it's kinda fun to see if you can make it or not."
Hicks did make it, uncontested, sliding headfirst into home plate. It was his first inside-the-park home run at any level of professional ball.
"I was exhausted," he said with a smirk. "It's something you don't do every day. You don't run around all four."
And you generally don't hit an over-the-fence home run four innings later, either. But he did that, too.
• Weird coincidences surrounded Hicks' night at the plate
"He's incredible. He's got power from both sides of the plate. Gold Glover. Center fielder. It's incredible. He's an igniter," outfielder Aaron Judge said. "He keeps us going, wherever he's at in the lineup -- he ignites. We saw that tonight."
It was the fourth career multihomer game for Hicks, who was playing in just his second game since returning from the disabled list after dealing with a Grade 1 strain of his intercostal muscle. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his return on Thursday, but he wasn't discouraged by his at-bats.
He showed why on Friday night.
"I talked to him, actually, before the game, and even though he didn't get any hits in Boston, I thought all of his at-bats were quality," manager Aaron Boone said. "You can tell he's seeing the ball pretty well. So it was really encouraging seeing him swing the bat like that."
His three RBIs and some key insurance runs proved to be enough support for starter Jordan Montgomery, who picked up his first win of the season.
On the heels of a rough start in which he lasted 4 1/3 innings, Montgomery worked six-plus innings of three-run ball, allowing five hits and striking out four.
"I thought his fastball and changeup were really strong," Boone said. "To be able to get into the seventh inning ... [It was] a strong effort, and one we needed."
Tigers catcher James McCann put Detroit on the board with a fifth-inning solo shot, his first of the season. He added a sac fly in the seventh to cut New York's lead to 6-3, and an RBI single in the eighth.
The Tigers (4-9) pieced together a three-run rally in the eighth and brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate with two outs, but reliever Chad Green, a former Tigers prospect, froze Dixon Machado on a 95-mph fastball for a called third strike to end the late-inning threat.
"I see [Green] in so many roles," Boone said. "We feel like he can wear a lot of hats for us, and tonight was a good example of that."
Albertin Chapman worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning, striking out the side, to pick up his second save.
It was an all-around slugfest for the Yankees, who combined for 11 hits, including an RBI single off the bat of Judge that extended his season-high hitting streak to 11 games. It's the longest hitting streak by a Yankee this season, and tied for the third-longest active streak in the Majors.
"His at-bats have been so good. I mean, he can really wear down a pitcher," Boone said. "Whatever he does, it seems like he's in and winning so many pitches in the course of the game. He makes it really hard on an opposing pitcher. He's in a really good place."
Hicks' was the first inside-the-park homer by a Yankees player since Curtis Granderson hit one on Aug. 21, 2011, in Minnesota. Hicks went home-to-home in 15.89 seconds. It is the Yankees' fastest home run time since Statcast™ started tracking in 2015, and the second quickest this season. Boston's Eduardo Nunez edged Hicks by .02 seconds with an inside-the-park home run on Opening Day.
It was also the first time a Yankee hit both an inside-the-park home run and an over-the-fence homer since Hank Bauer on May 30, 1956.
With Hicks' two-homer outing, the Yankees became the first team in Major League history to have five players record a multihomer game in the first 14 games of a season. Hicks joins Christopher Austin, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton and Didi Gregorius.
• Of the 17 pitches Chapman threw, eight (47 percent) were sliders, the second-highest rate of his career in an appearance of at least 10 pitches. This season, 33.1 percent of Chapman's total pitches have been sliders, compared with 19.1 percent in 2017.
HE SAID IT
"I think the whole bench got up and was waiting for him right when he got in. You don't get to see that play too often, and when you do, it's a pretty exciting play." -- Judge, on the team's reaction to Hicks' inside-the-park home run
In Saturday's 1:10 p.m. ET game against the Tigers, the Yankees will turn to Luis Cessa to fill the spot vacated by Carsten Sabathia, who is expected to rejoin the rotation on Tuesday. Acquired by the Yankees in the deal that sent Justin Wilson to the Tigers in December 2015, Cessa has a career 4.54 ERA in 73 1/3 innings as a big league starter. He was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre earlier this week. Francisco Liriano will be on the hill for Detroit.
James Schmehl is a contributor to MLB.com based in Detroit.