NEW YORK (AP) - Down to their last strike, with a 12-game winning streak in jeopardy, the Detroit Tigers turned to Miguel Cabrera.
Who else, right?
Hobbling after fouling two balls off his left shin, Cabrera delivered. He crushed a tying, two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning off Mariano Rivera, but the New York Yankees recovered to win 4-3 in the 10th and snap the Tigers' long string.
The reigning Triple Crown winner vs. the all-time saves leader made for great baseball theater, not that it was a part Cabrera enjoyed playing.
``No, we want to have the lead in the ninth. You don't want to face Mariano,' he said.
Cabrera's shin was bandaged after the game and he limped through the clubhouse. Banged up lately, Cabrera said he hoped to play Saturday afternoon.
The AL Central-leading Tigers were trying for their best winning string since 1934, when they tied the team record of 14 straight victories. That run ended across the street at the old Yankee Stadium when Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig each drove in runs to down Detroit.
``It was just one heck of a game, it really was,' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ``Terrific game.'
Brett Gardner grounded an RBI single with the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th to end New York's four-game losing streak.
Gardner singled just past Cabrera's dive at third base. Al Alburquerque (2-3) took the loss and Shawn Kelley (4-1) got the win.
Austin Jackson got three doubles and four hits overall for Detroit. His one-out double began Detroit's comeback in the ninth.
After a second foul ball left him hopping, Cabrera got a checkup from Leyland. Fact is, Cabrera almost didn't make it that far - moments before that, first baseman Lyle Overbay reached over a railing and barely missed catching Cabrera's foul pop that would've ended the game.
But Cabrera regrouped and lined a 2-2 pitch well over the wall in dead center field, slowly making his way around the bases and silencing the crowd. He drove in Detroit's first three runs, and now has 34 homers and 108 RBIs.
Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer saw Cabrera's homer on the clubhouse television. He said he and other teammates just shook their head as the ball sailed out.
``What's new?' Scherzer deadpanned.
Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said it was a special showdown.
``It's perfect. It's like a movie,' he said. ```Greatness, Greatness.' That's the name of the movie.'
For Rivera, it was his second straight failure - the first time that happened since April 2011. Rivera has blown four in 39 chances this year, including a ninth-inning miss Wednesday night in Chicago.
``Cabrera put a tough at-bat on him. Fouled a bunch of pitches off. Fouled it off his knee. Fouled it off his foot. He did a good job of getting two strikes. He just couldn't put him away,' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
With some scattered fans wearing his No. 13 jerseys, Alex Rodriguez finished 0 for 4 in his first game at Yankee Stadium since last October.
The sellout crowd of 46,545 let him have it the whole night, booing from the moment the lineups were announced to the time he looked at a slider for his third strikeout of the game.
Jayson Nix replaced Rodriguez at third base in the top of the ninth. Nix walked to start the 10th and scored the winning run.
Yankees starter Ivan Nova allowed one run in seven innings. He wiggled out of a jam in the first, striking out Victor Martinez and Andy Dirks to leave the bases loaded.
Nova cruised until Jackson led off the seventh with a double. Hunter was then called out on strikes and objected to the call by Triple-A fill-in umpire Will Little.
After Cabrera followed with an RBI single, Little ejected Scherzer for hollering from the dugout.
Alfonso Soriano had an RBI grounder in the first and Robinson Cano lined a two-run double in the third off Rick Porcello that put the Yankees ahead 3-0.
NOTES: There was a 47-minute rain delay at the start. ... Detroit C Alex Avila sat out, a day after he was hit in the mask by a foul ball and left the game. He was checked for a possible concussion and got medical clearance to play. ... Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez (9-7, 2.58) starts Saturday against RHP Phil Hughes (4-10, 4.87). ... Cabrera was 0 for 5 lifetime vs. Rivera before homering. ... Ichiro Suzuki ran into the RF wall after catching Cabrera's drive in the third. ... RF Hunter ran a long way into foul ground to make a sliding grab on Soriano's fly.
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