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Yanks Survive Tigers Scare


Mariano Rivera smiled his dazzling smile, then explained how his dazzling right arm could fail.

"It happens," he said. "It just happens."

But because he plays for the New York Yankees, no harm was done. Chili Davis singled home the go-ahead run in the 10th inning Tuesday night and the Yankees overcame Rivera's second blown save for a 9-8 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Bobby Higginson's solo home run with two outs in the ninth off Rivera tied it at 8.

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  • "I threw him a cutter that didn't cut," Rivera said. "It didn't move. It did nothing, and he was right on it. I wanted the ball to run in on him, but it stayed out over the plate, right in his power zone."

    But Bernie Williams reached on a one-out infield single off Todd Jones (1-3) in the 10th, took third on a single by Tino Martinez and scored when Davis slapped a single up the middle.

    "Of course, that's why the Yankees are the Yankees," Rivera said. "This is a great club."

    Higginson hit the first homer off Rivera this season. Rivera (2-1), who had converted his previous 17 save opportunities, appeared well on his way to save No. 22 until Higginson hitless in three previous at-bats sent a full-count fastball into the second deck in right.

    "That's got to be a big hit for Higgy," Detroit manager Larry Parrish said. "He's a guy that it's been a while since he hit one, and the to hit it off Rivera, who hadn't even given up one all year, I don't believe."

    Ramiro Mendoza pitched the 10th for his third save for the Yankees.

    "You wished, as much as we fought tonight, that we could have really gotten a win out of this," Parrish said. "It would have made it better, obviously."

    Hideki Irabu, 5-0 against the Tigers, gave up three earned runs

    and six hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out six. He was at his overpowering best in the fourth when he struck out Tony Clark, Damion Easley and Frank Catalanotto in order.

    Derek Jeter, who failed to reach base for only the second time all season in a 9-loss to Baltimore on Monday night, had two singles and a double. He scored a run in the second and drew a bases-loaded walk in the Yankees seventh.

    Brad Ausmus hit two triples for the Detroit. The Tigers scored three times in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Catalanotto and Juan Encarnacion's two-run double off Rivera.

    The Yankees, swept in a three-game series in April during their last visit to Detroit, scored six runs off Brian Moehler in the second.

    Davis started the burst with the first of three doubles in the inning and scored on Jorge Posada's single to tie it at 1. Paul O'Neill had a two-run double and Tino Martinez made it 6-1 with an RBI double chasing Moehler.

    "We never let down," Davis said. "Higginson's homer didn't bother us that much, because we weren't behind. This team is different. That's what I love about playing on this ballclub."

    Notes:

  • Williams extended his hitting streak to 17 games, a high for the Yankees this season.
  • Yankees 2B Chuck Knoblauch was charged with his league-leading 16th error after a wild throw to first in the second inning.
  • Gregg Jefferies, who had been on the 15-day disabled list since June 24, was recalled from a rehabilitation assignment before the game by the Tigers. To make room for Jefferies, the club optioned right-hander Willis Roberts to Triple-A Toledo.
  • The two triples by Ausmus were the most in one game for the Tigers since Higginson did it on Aug. 8, 1998 at Toronto.
  • Easley was hit by a pitch in the sixth and Knoblauch was hit in the seventh. They remained tied for the AL lead in that department with 15. Easley retook the lead alone when he was hit again in the eighth.
  • The infield at Tiger Stadium had a new look as about five feet of sod was removed to extend the basepaths toward left and right. The areas are intended as spots for umpires to stand.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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