By NOAH TRISTER, AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Aaron Hicks came sliding across home plate on his stomach, a little tired but plenty excited after a rare inside-the-park home run.
Four innings later, Hicks hit another homer that cleared the wall by plenty, but it was his first tour of the bases that was the highlight of this night.
“I like the first one. It’s a lot more exciting,” Hicks said. “It was a lot of fun, actually. Once you’re rounding that third bag right there, it’s kind of fun seeing if you can make it or not.”
Hicks’ homers sent the Yankees to an 8-6 victory over Detroit on Friday. Ronald Torreyes added three hits for New York, which handed the skidding Tigers their fifth straight loss.
Hicks came up with a runner on second in the second inning and hit a drive to right-center that bounced off the wall and past center fielder Leonys Martin. The ball rolled across a vacant area of turf while Hicks circled the bases for the Yankees’ first inside-the-park homer since 2011.
He was able to trot home in the sixth on his homer to right . Hicks also connected twice on April 13 last year, against Tampa Bay.
Jordan Montgomery (1-0) allowed three runs and five hits in six-plus innings. New York’s bullpen struggled to hold on, but Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth for his second save.
Mike Fiers (1-1) gave up five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings for the Tigers. James McCann and Jeimer Candelario homered for Detroit.
It was not a good second inning for the Tigers in the outfield. Gary Sanchez hit a one-out double that right fielder Nicholas Castellanos appeared to have a chance to catch in front of the wall. At the last moment, however, Castellanos ducked and the ball went over his head.
Hicks followed with his first home run to give New York a 2-0 lead. The Yankees’ previous inside-the-park homer was by Curtis Granderson at Minnesota on Aug. 21, 2011.
“Casty said he looked for the wall and when he looked back, the ball was right in his face, so it gets over his head,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Then the next one, Martin realizes he can’t get to it and gets set for a bounce off the scoreboard, but it hits off the concrete slab at the bottom and takes off. Those are both plays that could have been made, but they aren’t easy plays.”
Brett Gardner brought home another run in the fifth with a bloop double, and Aaron Judge drove in Gardner with a single. The Yankees added an additional run that inning on second baseman Dixon Machado’s throwing error.
Judge extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
McCann hit a solo home run in the fifth, but Hicks — in only his second game back from a right intercostal strain — made it 6-1 in the sixth with his second homer of the night.
Victor Martinez hit an RBI double in the seventh for Detroit, and he scored on McCann’s sacrifice fly. New York scored twice in the eighth, on an RBI single by Torreyes and a sacrifice fly by Didi Gregorius.
Candelario led off the eighth with a homer, and McCann and Jose Iglesias added RBI singles to make it 8-6.
“I’d like it to be a little easier,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “But that’s part of it, and that’s part of the competition. I think it can build resolve, knowing that it’s not always going to be easy.”
The Tigers and Yankees brawled their way through a game in Detroit last August. There were no major issues in their first meeting this season. Alex Wilson, ejected from that game in 2017, hit Gardner with a pitch in the eighth Friday, but the situation didn’t escalate.
Yankees: Boone said LHP CC Sabathia, on the disabled list with a right hip strain, could return in the next few days, perhaps Tuesday. … Boone said he spoke Friday with 3B Brandon Drury, who has been dealing with headaches and blurry vision. “He sounded upbeat. He sounded like he was in a good place, and felt like he was at least starting to scratch the surface on some answers, hopefully,” Boone said.
Tigers: Martin was face down in the batter’s box for a little while after he appeared to foul a pitch off his right knee in the first. He remained in the game.
RHP Luis Cessa (0-0) is set to start Saturday for the Yankees against Tigers LHP Francisco Liriano (1-1), although there’s a possibility of severe weather that could make it difficult to play any more baseball Saturday or Sunday in Detroit.
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