Prince Fielder saw to it that the Tigers didn’t need a closer today.
Fielder hit a three-run homer off Boone Logan in the fifth to give the Tigers the lead and added a two-run blast for insurance in the seventh Friday as the Tigers beat the Yankees 8-3.
Fielder’s first homer came immediately after Yankees manager Joe Girardi made the call to pull starter Ivan Nova. With the Yankees up 3-2, Nova was one out away from being eligible for the win at the time. He had allowed the first two runners in the fifth to reach base, only to induce a double-play ball from Torii Hunter afterwards. However, he then hit Miguel Cabrera on the hand with a pitch, causing Girardi to make the change.
Logan had limited Fielder to one single in five at-bats lifetime before Fielder got a hold of a fastball today and lined it just over the wall in right.
Since the lead proved comfortable, the Tigers allowed Drew Smyly to pitch the final four innings for his first career save. Then again, given the way he was throwing, Smyly probably would have been the best choice in a 4-3 game, too. The left-hander retired all 12 batters he faced, striking out five of them.
Starter Doug Fister got the win after allowing three runs in five innings. Shaky with his command, as he often was in spring training, he walked two and hit a pair of batters. One of those batters, Eduardo Nunez, left the game with a badly bruised forearm.
The Yankees dropped to 1-3 with the loss, while the Tigers improved to 2-2. Kevin Youkilis homered for the Bombers.