DETROIT -- CC Sabathia may not be overpowering any more but Curtis Granderson still is.
Sabathia mixed his pitches like the smooth veteran operator he is through seven innings Friday and Granderson belted a second-inning grand slam that gave New York a jump-start on the runs it needed to post a 9-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
Manager Joe Girardi tried to get through without using Rafael Soriano but needed his closer to quiet Detroit down in the ninth by getting Miguel Cabrera to hit into a game-ending double play to third with the bases loaded.
Sabathia has faced the Tigers twice this season, defeating them 6-2 with eight innings of four-hit ball April 29 and on Friday when he spaced out eight hits and two walks.
The big lefty doesn't throw fastballs in the upper 90s any more but his 91-93 is plenty good enough when he spots it around the strike zone and mixes in his offspeed and breaking stuff.
The Yankees had only two hits in taking a 5-1 lead after two innings -- a harmless single by Derek Jeter leading off the game and Granderson's fourth career grand slam and 17th home run this season.
New York took advantage of a promising but wild and inexperienced rookie Detroit pitcher, Casey Crosby, who walked four before Granderson got the pitch he was looking for and drilled over the fence in extreme right field. What else would he be looking for from a green lefty on a 3-2 pitch? It was a 91-mph fastball and it was gone as soon as he swung.
Crosby is the kind of pitcher Detroit has specialized in drafting most of the past eight years -- a high-ceiling hard-thrower who slipped in the draft due to signability questions. The Tigers grabbed him in the fifth round in 2007 and bought him out of a college offer for some $750,000. Due to firm signing guidelines now in place, that kind of player won't get drafted next week or will be taken much higher in the draft.
He missed 2008 with Tommy John surgery and only pitched three times in 2010 due to a sore elbow.
Luis Marte quieted the New York bats with 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief, then the Yankees got an extra run in the eighth off Brayan Villarreal when Nick Swisher walked with two out and came home on Jayson Nix's sharp ground double down the third base line.
Alex Rodriguez hit his first home run since May 23, a two-run high fly ball to left center that gave him eight home runs and 21 RBI this season.
A sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Jhonny Peralta in the eighth made it 7-4. Miguel Cabrera doubled leading off and advanced to third on a single to third by Delmon Young.
Rookie Quintin Berry tripled and doubled his first two times up, scoring both times.
The left-handed hitter ripped a 0-1 Sabathia fastball into the gap in right center leading off in the first and making it to third standing up. Danny Worth followed with a line RBI single to right.
Berry followed a Ramon Santiago leadoff home run in the third with a double. Sabathia seemed to have worked out of trouble when he got Cabrera to swing at a breaking ball in the dirt for the second out but Prince Fielder stroked a 3-2 curve to center for a soft RBI single, making it 5-3.
New York extended its lead back to 6-3 in the fourth. Jayson Nix doubled down the first base line, took advantage of Detroit's rookie starter Casey Crosby's inexperience to steal third on the next pitch and then Chris Stewart singled through a drawn-in infield.
Granderson gave Crosby his 'welcome to the big leagues' moment with his fourth career grand slam, which came in the second inning.
Crosby, who would have started for the Toledo Mud Hens on Thursday had fate not jumped up in the form of a left side injury to Doug Fister, eased through the first inning. However, the same control problems that bedeviled him in the minors bit him in the second inning.
Robinson Cano, Swisher, Nix and Jeter all walked to tie the score 1-1 and set Granderson up for his 17th home run of the season. He yanked a 91-mph right-down-the middle 3-2 fastball over the right field wall near the line to make it 5-1.
NOTES: A May 25 play, at the urging of the Yankees, was reviewed and changed from an error on Oakland's Coco Crisp with Cano gaining an RBI double. ... Friday was the first time the Yankees had faced a Tigers' pitcher making his Major League debut since April 9, 1999, when New York defeated Beiker Graterol. The last Detroit pitcher to beat the Yankees in his ML debut was Bill Slayback, on June 26, 1972. ... Twenty years ago, on June 1, 1992, the Yankees drafted a thin shortstop from Kalamazoo (MI) Central High School. His name was Derek Jeter and he went sixth overall. Selected ahead of Jeter were 3B Phil Nevin (now manager at Detroit's Toledo farm club) by Houston; RHP Paul Shuey by Cleveland; LHP B.J. Wallace by Montreal; OF Jeffrey Hammonds by Baltimore; and OF Chad Mottola by Cincinnati.
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