Yankees pound David Price for nine straight hits in eight-run third

DETROIT - Sure, you saw that coming.

The Yankees hoped Tuesday's loss wouldn't be the start of a stretch of poor play, but they faced the difficult obstacle of Tigers lefthander David Price to get back in the win column.

"You just have to find a way to win the game,'' Joe Girardi said beforehand.

Did they ever, producing an inning for the ages in an important 8-4 victory over Price and the Tigers in front of a sellout crowd of 40,876 Wednesday night at Comerica Park.

All of the Yankees' runs came in a magical third inning, in which the Bombers ripped nine consecutive hits off Price, sending 12 to the plate.

"It's fun, but you don't see that very often,'' said Derek Jeter, who batted second in the inning and drove in the first run with a double and another with a sacrifice fly.

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"We had some good at-bats. We were lucky, we found some holes. Price is as good as anyone in baseball. We're fortunate, but we needed it. That was a big inning for us.''

The Yankees became the first AL team with nine straight hits in an inning since the Tigers did it April 16, 1996, at Toronto. The Cardinals did it last Sept. 6 against the Pirates.

At one point in the third, the Yankees were 8-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

"It builds confidence,'' said Jacoby Ellsbury, who started the rally with a hit and later contributed a sacrifice fly. "You want to be the next guy up, just keep the line moving.''

Had Girardi ever seen anything like it?

"Maybe in a Little League game,'' he said, smiling. "But sometimes it just happens. [Price] is as good as it gets.''

The Yankees (69-62) moved within six games of the Orioles in the AL East and within 21/2 games of the Mariners for the AL's second wild card. They are two behind the Tigers (71-60).

"Anytime you can pick up a game, it's important,'' Girardi said. "We need to pick up games.''

Price (12-10) was 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA in four previous starts with Detroit since being acquired from the Rays on July 31. This time, he could not get out of the third, failing to record an out. In two-plus innings, he allowed eight runs, which matched a career high, and 12 hits, two off the hot bat of leadoff man Ellsbury, who went 2-for-4 and is 17-for-35 in his last nine games.

Price characterized the night as "probably the worst game I've ever had in my life. I've had bad games before. Not that bad.''

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The beneficiary of the onslaught was rookie Shane Greene (4-1, 3.09) who, after sitting for about 45 minutes, retired the Tigers in order on 10 pitches in the third. The righthander again was impressive, allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings. Again featuring a biting slider and a fastball with all kinds of late movement, Greene struck out eight and walked one.

"Sometimes you think, 'Hurry up, I want to get back up there,' '' Greene said, laughing. "But it's nice when a team can go out there and put up runs like that.''

They're putting up victories, too, and at the right time. They've won eight of their last 11 but are not watching the scoreboard, Ellsbury said.

"I didn't look at it,'' he said. "I know if we play well and we do what we're supposed to do, it's going to take care of itself.''

With David Lennon

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