NEW YORK (AP) — John Hicks hit a three-run homer in his first big league game in more than a month, Justin Upton added a solo drive off CC Sabathia, and the Detroit Tigers held on to beat the New York Yankees 4-3 Tuesday night.
A 27-year-old rookie recalled Monday for his fifth major league stint this season, Hicks drove a slider over the right-center field wall in the second inning, capping a 10-pitch at-bat.
Upton made it 4-0 in the third when he hit a full-count slider to left-center for his 18th homer.
Shane Greene, who took over as closer after Monday’s trade of Justin Wilson to the Chicago Cubs, walked pinch-hitter Jacoby Ellsbury with two outs in the ninth, and bounced a pickoff throw for an error that allowed Ellsbury to reach third.
Brett Gardner was intentionally walked and stole second, and rookie Clint Frazier popped out.
Greene, dealt by the Yankees to Detroit in the December 2014 that brought Gregorius from Arizona, entered with a man on in the eighth and got Matt Holliday to hit into an inning-ending double play in the eighth.
Didi Gregorius drove in three runs for the Yankees. He hit his 17th home run, a two-run drive in the fourth off Anibal Sanchez (3-1) that hooked just fair of the right-field foul pole, then singled in a run off Daniel Stumpf in the eighth. New York’s third run was unearned because Gary Sanchez’s single to left against Alex Wilson bounced off Upton’s glove for an error.
James McCann was thrown out at the plate by Gardner when he tried to score on Andrew Romine’s two-out single to center in the ninth.
New York, which went 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position, entered with a half-game AL East lead and lost for just the second time in nine games.
Sanchez, making his eighth start since being shifted to the rotation in mid-June, allowed six hits in 6 2/3 innings and improved to 3-0 at Yankee Stadium.
In his 500th big league start, Sabathia (9-4) gave up six hits in six innings, struggling to locate his breaking ball in the early innings.
Hicks had not played for the Tigers since June 27. The first baseman/catcher was brought back after Tigers general manager Al Avila traded his son, Alex, to the Chicago Cubs. Hicks is hitting .300 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 70 at-bats with Detroit and .269 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 208 at-bats for Triple-A Toledo.
Drafted by Seattle on the fourth round in 2011, he made his big league debut with the Mariners in August 2015, was claimed off waivers by Minnesota that December, then claimed by the Tigers in April 2016.
Sabathia appeared to mouth something to plate umpire Mike Estabrook after reaching the dugout in the middle of the fifth inning, causing Estabrook to come over to the dugout and exchanged words with New York manager Joe Girardi.
New York will use a six-man rotation this week, following the acquisition of RHP Sonny Gray and LHP Jaime Garcia. Gray is to make his Yankees debut on Thursday at Cleveland, and Garcia is to start Friday night. LHP Jordan Montgomery starts Saturday and RHP Luis Severino on Sunday. After that, Montgomery appears likely to drop from the rotation.
New York’s 7-3 win Monday was seen by 446,000 viewers on YES, the network’s most-watched program since Derek Jeter’s Yankee Stadium finale on Sept. 25, 2014, was seen by 1.25 million, the most in the network’s history. Yankees games on YES averaged 336,000 viewers last month, the most in July since 2012.
Tigers: SS Jose Iglesias didn’t play, a day after straining his right wrist on a strikeout.
Yankees: 2B Starling Castro (strained right hamstring) still hasn’t started running.
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (8-9, 5.09) starts Wednesday’s series finale for the Yankees and RHP Jordan Zimmermann (6-8, 5.69) for the Tigers. Tanaka is 0-5 with a 14.81 ERA in six day starts this year, allowing 44 hits in 20 2/3 innings.