Originally created 04/17/99

Detroit stomps Yankees



DETROIT -- One week later, the New York Yankees don't look so invincible against Detroit.

Justin Thompson, who had the shortest outing of his career against New York last weekend, shut down the World Series champions as Detroit beat the Yankees 8-1 Friday night.

"It's good to go out and do this against a team like this," Thompson said. "It tells you where you're at."

Gregg Jefferies hit a two-run homer for Detroit, swept by the Yankees in a three-game series at New York last weekend. Since Darryl Strawberry's arrest on charges of cocaine possession and soliciting, the Yankees have lost two straight following a seven-game winning streak.

"We all feel bad about Straw," Yankees interim manager Don Zimmer said. "But the game goes on."

A night after Roger Clemens was pounded by Baltimore, Orlando Hernandez (2-1) was hit hard, allowing eight runs, five hits, three walks and a hit batter in five innings. It was the worst outing for "El Duque" in 13 starts since July 29, when he gave up 10 runs against Anaheim.

"He just couldn't get control of his fastball," catcher Joe Girardi said. "He just never got comfortable. You're going to have nights when that happens."

Thompson (1-2) was knocked out after allowing a career-high eight runs in just 2 2-3 innings when he and Hernandez met last Sunday. This time, Thompson gave up one run and seven hits in seven innings with four strikeouts.

Hideki Irabu, relegated to the bullpen since owner George Steinbrenner called him a "fat ... toad" in the final week of spring training, pitched three hitless innings, two nights after allowing five runs and getting just one out against Baltimore. His ERA dropped to 33.75 to 10.38.

"I think I was really bad last time out," Irabu said through an interpreter. "I thought a lot about what I was doing. I worked hard at changing my mechanics for this game."

Derek Jeter homered in the first inning, giving the Yankees an AL record with homers in each of their first 10 games. It is the only run scored by New York in its last 14 innings.

Hernandez, perfect for 7 1-3 innings against the Tigers last Sunday, wasn't nearly as sharp on a cold night in Tiger Stadium where the temperature at game time was 44.

"He didn't look comfortable right from the very start," Girardi said. "Maybe it was the cold."

After Jeter's fourth homer, Detroit came back with four runs in the bottom half, then added two in the second and two in the fourth.

Tony Clark's two-run double put Detroit ahead, Frank Catalanotto followed with a sacrifice fly and Damion Easley scored when Jeter dropped a popup in shallow left for an error.

"We played a little shabby the last two games," Zimmer said. "It was cold, but I don't want to make excuses."

Jefferies homered in the second. Hunter tripled and scored on catcher Joe Girardi's throwing error in the fourth, and Bobby Higginson doubled home a run.