DETROIT (AP) – Prince Fielder hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the fifth inning and added a soaring, two-run shot in the seventh to lift the Detroit Tigers to an 8-3 win over the New York Yankees on Friday in the Comerica Park opener.
Fielder connected for his first two home runs of the season before a crowd of 45,051, the most on opening day in the 14 years of Comerica Park.
Doug Fister (1-0) allowed three runs on six hits – including Kevin Youkilis’ two-run homer over five innings. Drew Smyly pitched four perfect innings and struck out five for his first career save.
Ivan Nova (0-1) gave up four runs and five hits over 4 2-3 innings.
Boone Logan, the first batter to face Fielder in the fifth, allowed the slugger to put Detroit up 5-3.
Alex Avila, the second hitter to face Shawn Kelley in the sixth, homered deep into the right-field seats to put the Tigers ahead by three runs. Fielder tagged Kelley for another shot the next time he came up.
The banged-up Yankees took another hit, too, on a sun-splashed, cool afternoon in the Motor City.
Eduardo Nunez, filling in for shortstop Derek Jeter, was hit on his right biceps by Fister’s pitch in the fourth and left the game. X-rays were negative.
Jeter may not return to play for the Yankees until next month, manager Joe Girardi said before the series opener. Jeter needs to go through a spring training-like schedule when he comes back from rehabilitating his broken left ankle.
Jeter was hurt in the AL championship series opener against Detroit last October while trying to field a groundball.
The Yankees have five All-Stars on the disabled list with Jeter joined by third baseman Alex Rodriguez (hip surgery), first baseman Mark Teixeira (wrist), outfielder Curtis Granderson (broken forearm) and pitcher Phil Hughes (back pain).
In front of their fired-up fans, Detroit scored a run in the first and second innings and were held scoreless in the next two innings. The blue-and-orange clad fans groaned in the fifth when Fister allowed a run to score on a wild pitch and Youkilis homered to put the Yankees ahead 3-2.
Fielder gave them a reason to cheer in the home half of the inning and later on.
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