Series: Game 3 of 3

NY Yankees won 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, August 29
NY Yankees
Game 1: Wednesday, August 30
NY Yankees2
Game 2: Wednesday, August 30
NY Yankees3
Game 3: Thursday, August 31
NY Yankees6

Tigers 4

(83-51, 43-27 away)

Yankees 6

(79-53, 41-24 home)

    1:05 PM ET, August 31, 2006

    Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    DET 010001002 4 5 0
    NYY 00121020 - 6 14 0

    W: R. Johnson (15-10)

    L: J. Bonderman (11-7)

    S: M. Rivera (34)

    A-Rod's three hits back Unit, lift Yanks past sliding Tigers

    NEW YORK (AP) -- For Alex Rodriguez, hitting is no big mystery.

    Patriotic pause
    NEW YORK -- Jim Leyland put his argument with umpires on hold for a moment of patriotism.

    The Detroit Tigers manager was ejected in the seventh inning of Thursday's 6-4 loss to New York, and he then went onto the field to argue with plate umpire James Hoye.

    Leyland got to the plate and started jawing with Hoye when Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard called for a moment of silence followed by the playing of Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America." Leyland backed off and stood at attention before resuming the argument.

    "That was a little embarrassing," Leyland said. "I certainly in no way, shape or form would I ever be disrespectful. But you don't tell the umpires, 'Hey, I've got to listen to Kate.' "

    Leyland was unhappy with Hoye's strike zone. Leyland, tossed for the second time this season, said he did not deserve to be ejected.

    "I say less to the umpires than any manager in this league," he said.

    -- The Associated Press

    "It's a matter of getting a good pitch and putting a good swing on it," Rodriguez said after he had three hits including his 27th home run of the season in the New York Yankees' 6-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. "You have the ability. It's a matter of going out and being assertive with the swing."

    So how come A-Rod was 0-for-10 and 1-for-24 going into Thursday's game?

    That's the mystery of baseball.

    Rodriguez offered some explanation.

    "I swung the bat much better," he said. "It's a little of everything. When you swing well, it doesn't matter what they throw. The focus is not on what I do. The focus is on what the team does."

    But Rodriguez was the American League MVP last season and the highest-paid player in the game. So it's hard to avoid the focus, especially in a season when he has committed 22 errors, gone through long hapless stretches at bat and been the target of repeated booing at Yankee Stadium.

    It was a welcome change for him when the sellout crowd demanded a curtain call following his seventh-inning home run and manager Joe Torre nudged him out of the dugout.

    "I didn't think about it," Rodriguez said. "I haven't had one in awhile."

    Before Rodriguez homered, Detroit manager Jim Leyland was ejected by plate umpire James Hoye for complaining on balls and strikes. It was his second ejection this season.

    "I didn't like a couple of situations that were called," he said. "But I didn't put on a big show. I was down in the dugout."

    Randy Johnson (15-10) allowed a pair of early home runs to Magglio Ordonez and Omar Infante -- the only hits he allowed through eight innings. Then a leadoff walk in the ninth followed by Marcus Thames' 24th homer made it close and spoiled Johnson's day.

    "I was disappointed about the ninth inning," he said. "That's me."

    Johnson struck out eight and walked one. Eight quality innings didn't mean much to him.

    "I didn't pitch a quality ninth," he said.

    After Thames' homer, Mariano Rivera finished for his 33rd save in 36 chances. He gave up a double to Ordonez off the wall in right-center and then retired Carlos Guillen, pinch-hitter Sean Casey and Brandon Inge on groundouts.

    Rivera had an MRI exam on his right forearm before the game. The scan showed a mild muscle strain in his right elbow but no structural damage.

    After Rodriguez homered in the eighth, Robinson Cano followed with a double and scored on a single by Bernie Williams, who had two RBI.

    Bobby Abreu hit a two-out, two-run single that broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning and scored another run on a two-out hit by Rodriguez in the third.

    Elias Says
    Randy Johnson
    Randy Johnson earned his 15th victory of the season as the Yankees defeated the Tigers 6-4. It was Johnson's third straight season of 15 or more wins since he turned 40 in September 2003. And in doing so, Johnson became only the third pitcher in major league history to be credited with 15 or more wins in each of three consecutive seasons after the age of 40. Cy Young did it from 1907 to 1909, and Warren Spahn followed suit from 1961 to 1963. (Special mention goes to Phil Niekro, who had five seasons of 15 or more wins after the age of 40, but never had three in a row.)

    • For more Elias Says, Click here

    New York, which won five of seven from the Tigers this year, is a season-high eight games over second-place Boston, its largest AL East lead since August 2004. Detroit -- which has lost six of eight, nine of 13 and 15 of 22 -- remained 4½ games ahead of second-place Chicago in the AL Central.

    Jeremy Bonderman (11-7) gave up four runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings.

    "I'm throwing the ball like I have been," Bonderman said. "They are just finding holes. I feel like there are not too many hard-hit balls. Right now, it's not going my way."

    Ordonez put the Tigers in front leading off the second with his 18th home run. He had been batting .242 since the All-Star break and had a stretch of 119 at-bats without a homer from July 9 through Aug. 16.

    The Yankees tied it in the third on a double by Abreu and a bloop RBI single by Rodriguez.

    An inning later, the Yankees loaded the bases with two out on hits by Melky Cabrera and Johnny Damon and a walk to Derek Jeter. Abreu delivered a single, driving in Cabrera and Damon. Rodriguez opened the fifth with a double and scored on a single by Williams for a 4-1 lead.

    Infante got that run back for Detroit with a leadoff homer in the sixth, his third of the season.

    Game notes

    Jeter extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... Ordonez's homer was the 18th of his career against the Yankees and eighth in 32 games at Yankee Stadium. ... Damon stole his 24th base, Rodriguez his 12th and Jeter his 28th, all against Ivan Rodriguez -- who had not allowed as many as three steals in a game since Sept. 16, 2005, when the Angels swiped four against him.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press