Series: Game 1 of 4

New York leads 1-0 (as of 9/5)

Game 1: Thursday, September 5
Detroit 3Final
New York 9
Game 2: Friday, September 6
Detroit 1Final
New York 8
Game 3: Saturday, September 7
Detroit 2Final
New York 1
Game 4: Sunday, September 8
Detroit 4Final
New York 6

Tigers 3

(51-89, 20-49 away)

Yankees 9

(87-52, 43-24 home)

    7:05 PM ET, September 5, 2002

    Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    DET 002010000 3 - -
    NYY 01410021 - 9 - -

    W: O. Hernandez (8-4)

    L: S. Sparks (8-15)

    Hernandez boosts chances for post-season spot

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Orlando Hernandez was happy that he felt healthy and he had his control.

    El Duque boosted his chances for a spot in the New York Yankees' postseason rotation, giving up three runs in seven innings in a 9-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night.

    Orlando Hernandez
    Starting Pitcher
    New York Yankees
    GM W L Sv K ERA
    19 8 4 1 94 3.52

    "I have to continue working hard,'' he said after winning for just the third time in his last 10 starts. "It was tough being on the DL.''

    Hernandez, who had two stints on the disabled list earlier this season, has struggled with his control recently. After walking 14 batters in his past two starts, Hernandez (8-4) walked none on Thursday.

    "That was the real good news,'' he said.

    Hernandez was also pleased that he pitched relatively well and got the win despite allowing five doubles.

    "Three of the five doubles were in the middle of the plate,'' he said.

    Raul Mondesi homered, doubled and drove in three runs as the Yankees opened a season-high 9{-game lead over Boston in the AL East.

    Hernandez was hoping to preserve his role in the postseason rotation. Manager Joe Torre will likely use a four-man rotation in the playoffs. New York can choose from Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, David Wells, Mike Mussina and Hernandez.

    "I think I need to have a couple more good games,'' Hernandez said.

    Hernandez's task was made somewhat easier by the continued struggles of Tigers starter Steve Sparks (8-15), a knuckleballer who had now allowed 22 runs in his last three starts over a span of 9 2-3 innings.

    "They hit some balls hard today against him,'' Tigers manager Luis Pujols. "This year has been a struggle for him pretty much all year.''

    Sparks allowed five runs on six hits with two walks and a hit batter in 2 1/3 innings.

    New York scored four times in the third when Sparks gave up five hits.

    "Sometimes, it goes from inning to inning how they throw,'' Jason Giambi said about knuckleball pitchers. "I don't know why, I don't throw one.''

    Giambi had an RBI single in the fifth and later added another in the fourth off reliever Jeff Farnsworth.

    Drew Henson, the former Michigan quarterback and considered the Yankees' third baseman of the future, made his major league debut as a pinch-runner. He replaced Bernie Williams, who hit an RBI single in the eighth.

    Mondesi drove in a run with a double in a four-run third that made it 5-2 and chased Sparks.

    Mondesi greeted reliever Jose Paniagua with his 25th homer, a two-run shot, in the seventh.

    Bobby Higginson gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead in the third with an RBI single. He drove in Damion Easley, who had hit an RBI double.

    The Yankees scored four times in the third after Alfonso Soriano was hit by a pitch leading off. Giambi, Jorge Posada, Robin Ventura and Mondesi all drove in runs.

    Robin Ventura's RBI double in the second gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Easley doubled in another Tigers run in the fifth.

    Game notes

    Sparks made his 28th start of the season, but his first against the Yankees since July 24, 2001. ... The Yankees have donated 3,000 tickets to their Sept. 11 game against the Baltimore Orioles to "The Gift of New York,'' a nonprofit initiative that provides New York area cultural and entertainment activities for families of those who died in the terrorist attacks. ... Soriano stole third in the fourth inning for his 39th steal in 50 attempts. ... The crowd of 28,222 was only the sixth under 30,000 at Yankee Stadium this season and the first since June 5 against the Baltimore Orioles (26,506).

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press