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Yankees beat Tigers despite managing only two hits

Gleyber Torres' two-run homer backs Masahiro Tanaka

Andrew McCutchen had a mostly quiet debut in pinstripes and Gary Sanchez’s return to them didn’t produce much in the way of noise either.

On this Saturday afternoon it didn’t matter, nor did the Yankees’ rather sad hit total of two. 

With Masahiro Tanaka throwing seven terrific innings and a suddenly resurgent Gleyber Torres homering again, the Yankees squeezed out a 2-1 victory over the Tigers in front of 42,816 at the Stadium.

Tanaka, coming off Monday’s outing against the White Sox when he allowed four runs and 10 hits over seven innings, allowed one run and seven hits over seven innings Saturday. The run and three of the hits all came in the first inning. Tanaka walked one and struck out seven in lowering his season ERA to 3.83.

The Yankees (86-50), now 3-3 on a seven-game homestand that ends Sunday afternoon, trailed 1-0 before Torres’ two-run homer in the fifth made it 2-1.

Jonathan Holder pitched a scoreless eighth and Dellin Betances, who blew the save and took the loss Thursday when he allowed two homers, rebounded with a scoreless ninth Saturday earn his second save. 

Daniel Norris, activated from the disabled list earlier in the day and making his first start since April 29 at Baltimore, was perfect through four. He walked Aaron Hicks to start the fifth and, after Sanchez, activated from the DL Saturday morning, flied to the track in left-center, Torres hammered a 1-and-0 slider to left, the rookie’s 22nd homer of the season. Torres came into the day 9-for-14 with two homers on the homestand and 22 for his last 54 with three homers in his previous 15 games.

Norris left the game a batter later when, after throwing a ball to Luke Voit that evened the count 2-and-2, he experienced cramping in his left calf.

Tanaka immediately faced a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the first, the Tigers loading the bases on three soft hits.

Leadoff man Mikie Mahtook started with a grounder to the hole at short that went as an infield single and Jim Adduci followed with a squibber to the left of the plate, also a hit. Nicholas Castellanos then flared a single to left that loaded the bases.

Victor Martinez’s sacrifice fly to short left got Mahtook in to make it 1-0 and Tanaka kept it there, striking out Niko Goodrum and getting Ronny Rodriguez to fly to left, ending the 18-pitch inning.

Tanaka didn’t get into trouble again until the seventh.

Grayson Greiner led off with a double into the corner in right and JaCoby Jones dumped a single to center, putting runners at the corners. That would be it as Dawel Lugo grounded to first – Greiner was unable to score – and Tanaka struck out Mahtook and Adduci to end the threat.

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