While the Yankees explore a trade for the Arizona ace and wait
for Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina to come off the disabled list,
Orlando Hernandez has filled in quite well.El Duque won for the second time in two starts since returning
to the major leagues, beating the Detroit Tigers 5-3 Saturday
night.Hernandez allowed three runs and six hits in five innings,
striking out six and walking three. Last weekend, he beat Tampa Bay
10-3 in his first major league game since 2002."It has helped a lot that my teammates are so happy about my
return," Hernandez said through a translator. "I feel good, but I
just need to keep working on my location so that I don't keep
throwing 100 pitches in five innings."The Cuban right-hander, believed to be 38, had shoulder surgery
in May 2003 to repair a small tear in his rotator cuff, and he was
brought up to patch a rotation missing Brown (bad back) and Mussina
(sore elbow)."It's great to see him back -- I know how hard he has worked to
get here again," teammate Jason Giambi said. "It's going to be
huge if he can pitch like this for us down the stretch."Hernandez's fastball topped out in the high 80s, but he baffled
Tigers batters with an assortment of breaking pitches, including a
roundhouse curve that was clocked as low as 56 mph."I don't think he's the same velocity-wise, but he's smart,"
Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. "He knows what he's doing out
there, so even if he doesn't come at you with the same fastball as
he once did, he's very effective."Paul Quantrill, Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera finished. Gordon
struck out four in 1 2-3 perfect innings, and Rivera got three
straight outs for his AL-leading 33rd save in 34 chances.Gary Sheffield homered and drove in three runs for the Yankees
before a crowd of 41,857, the third-largest in Comerica Park's
five-year history. Detroit, which matched its 2003 wins total
Friday, lost for just the third time in nine games.Gary Knotts (5-4) dropped to 1-3 in his last five starts, giving
up four runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings. He is 0-3 with a 11.48
ERA in his career against the Yankees."I thought I had good stuff and was making good pitches," he
said. "They have an All-Star lineup and they are going to get
their hits."The game was delayed slightly in the second inning when the
Comerica Park emergency buzzer and lights went off. A recorded
announcement said there was an emergency in the stadium, but the
scoreboard quickly informed fans that it was a false alarm.
Hernandez, who was on the mound at the time, said he didn't hear
the alarm.Alex Rodriguez hit a two-out RBI single that gave New York the
lead in the first, but the Tigers went ahead in the second on a
two-run homer by Eric Munson, who also connected Friday.Ruben Sierra tied the game in the fifth when he led off with a
415-foot line drive to right field, his ninth homer this season.
Derek Jeter beat out a two-out infield single and scored on
Sheffield's shot down the left-field line.Dmitri Young's grounder through Rodriguez's legs at third base --
ruled an RBI single -- pulled Detroit to 4-3 in the bottom half.In the sixth, the Tigers got the first two runners on, but
Giambi snared Munson's line drive down the line, and one out later,
Rodriguez did the same to Omar Infante."Giambi's play was the game," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
"Munson smoked that, and I couldn't even see the ball from my seat
in the dugout, but I knew from the crowd's reaction that he got
it."After the game, Munson was still disappointed."I thought it was down the line," he said. "It was almost by
him and he just reached back and snagged it. Then Omar hits the
ball hard and A-Rod makes a pretty good play. We lost a pretty good
chance to score there."Sheffield added an RBI single in the seventh.
Rodriguez's hit in the first was New York's first single of
the series. In Thursday's opener, all five hits by the Yankees were
homers, and Sheffield doubled Friday for New York's only hit. ...
Detroit got its 43rd win Friday in its 89th game. The prior record
for a team matching its previous year's win total in a 162-game
season was set by the 1989 Orioles (100 games), according to the
Elias Sports Bureau. ... Yankees CF Kenny Lofton dropped Ivan
Rodriguez's fly ball in the seventh for what was originally ruled
an error, but changed to a single after the game.