Yankees' Francisco homers twice vs. Tigers
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera's mammoth two-run home run over the batting eye behind center field punctuated a go-ahead five-run seventh inning, overcoming a two-homer game from Ben Francisco to send the Tigers to a 10-6 win over the Yankees on Saturday afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium.
On a day when Torii Hunter made the highlight play by keeping a ball in the park, scaling the right-field fence to take back Kevin Youkilis' fly ball in the third inning, Jhonny Peralta, Cabrera and Kevin Russo drove the ball where all the Yankees' outfield could do was watch.
Peralta's drive to the left of the backdrop in center, his second home run of the spring, led off a three-run fifth inning against Andy Pettitte after the left-hander held Detroit to a run on two hits over the first four innings.
Three more hits after Peralta's homer, including an Alex Avila double off the left-field wall and a Hunter RBI double, tied the game. Pettitte rebounded to last 6 1/3 innings in his second start of the spring, more than doubling his innings from his previous outing.
"I got some balls up in that one inning they scored three runs, and even in the inning they scored the first run, I left a changeup up to Torii right where he wants it and he hit that double," Pettitte said. "I felt good. Everything was good, right where I wanted it. I made some bad pitches I left up in the zone, but for the most part I was pretty happy with it."
The five-run seventh came after Pettitte was relieved by Cody Eppley, who failed to retire any of the five batters he faced. Hunter greeted Eppley with a one-out single before Cabrera cleared the estimated 30-foot high backdrop in straightaway center for his fourth homer of Grapefruit League play. Victor Martinez, Matt Tuiasosopo and Avila added RBI hits.
The Yankees whittled their deficit when Francisco jumped a fastball from Tigers closing candidate Bruce Rondon for a two-run homer in the eighth, but former Yankees farmhand Russo slugged an eighth-inning homer to pad the lead.
Francisco's fourth-inning solo homer to the left-field berm was one of four Yankees runs off Anibal Sanchez in their first meeting with the right-hander since he shut them down for seven innings in last October's American League Championship Series. Youkilis gained some measure of revenge for his robbery with a two-run double into the left-field corner in the fifth inning.
The announced crowd of 10,084 is the fourth-largest in the Tigers' 48-year history at Marchant Stadium.
Up next: The Yankees are back at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Sunday, welcoming the Rays for a 1:05 p.m. ET start (Watch on MLB.TV). Adam Warren will have a chance to turn around what has been an unimpressive spring thus far for the right-hander, who is slated to begin the season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Tampa Bay will counter with right-hander Jeremy Hellickson.