It all seemed backward in Yankee Stadium Sunday as Alex Rodriguez hit his first home run of the year off former MVP Justin Verlander, who is ranked as just the 52nd best pitcher in the latest Value Add Ratings. Victor Martinez hit just his 10th homer to give Mariano Rivera his third straight blown save, then lead-off hitter Brett Gardner broke an 0 for 4 night by hitting his eighth homer off the Tigers Jose Veras (19 Saves, 2.70 ERA).
The 5-4 win for the Yankees pulled them to within seven games of both Tampa Bay and Oakland for the two wildcard spots. If the Yankees can win some games with Alex Rodriguez in the cleanup spot before his suspension appeal ends they have an outside shot at making the playoffs.
Rodriguez homered in the second inning, and then drove in his friend Robinson Cano with a single in the third inning to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
The Yankees still led 4-2 when Mariano Rivera entered in the ninth, normally an automatic win. However, Rivera had blown his last two saves and was facing the heart of the Tigers order.
Miguel Cabrera greeted Rivera with a homer run, then Prince Fielder smashed a line drive that was caught. Martinez then homered to tie the game.