Dustin Peterson’s parents were right there in the Yankee Stadium stands to see his first major league hit — a tiebreaking rocket off one of baseball’s best closers.
Hard to dream up any better scenario.
Peterson laced a go-ahead double to deep left field against Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning that sent the Detroit Tigers past the New York Yankees 3-1 on a nippy Tuesday night.
“I don’t think I would change a thing,” said Peterson, who made his big league debut with Atlanta last May. “I will never forget this, that’s for sure.”
Jordy Mercer added an RBI single, and the Tigers got another strong start from Jordan Zimmermann after he took a perfect game two outs into the seventh on opening day in Toronto last week.
This time, Zimmermann limited a makeshift Yankees lineup depleted by injuries to one run in 6 2/3 innings.
“He just really doesn’t give them much time to breathe,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s got good stuff, he’s healthy, and he’s really throwing the ball well.”
The right-hander from Wisconsin pitched in short sleeves while other players bundled up on a 45-degree night in the Bronx. He struck out six and the only walk he issued was intentional.
“I’m not throwing as many fastballs. A lot more off-speed stuff,” Zimmermann said.
Jeimer Candelario and John Hicks hit consecutive doubles off New York starter Masahiro Tanaka with two outs in the sixth to tie it 1-all. Candelario’s grounder caromed high off first base and past Luke Voit as the big first baseman tried to grab the ball with his bare hand.
Joe Jiménez (1-0) ended the eighth with an unassisted double play after snagging Gleyber Torres’ line drive. He ran to first base himself and jumped on the bag, irritating Voit even further after hitting him on the left hand with a 96 mph fastball.
“Best feeling ever,” Jiménez said. “Obviously, you don’t expect plays like that.”
When the play was over, Voit cursed at Jiménez on the field.
“That’s the second time I’ve been hit in that area this year already. And I get it, they’re trying to pitch up and in, but, especially with all the injuries going around, it’s just frustrating because I could have been the guy that’s number seven on the (injured) list,” Voit said. “I get it, he’s not trying to do it on purpose, but you never know what can happen.”
Gardenhire said Jiménez was simply showing enthusiasm.
“It was pretty entertaining for all of us. We like that kind of stuff,” the manager explained. “You see the little kid in people, and that’s kind of what it was.”
Shane Greene tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save.
Chapman (0-1) walked pinch-hitter Niko Goodrum with one out, and he scored easily from first when Peterson doubled over the head of left fielder Mike Tauchman.
The 24-year-old Peterson was 0 for 9 in the big leagues before connecting on a 95 mph fastball. He clapped his hands and smiled at second base after getting his first career RBI as well.
“Honestly, I blacked out,” Peterson said. “I didn’t know what to do. Just all the emotion, that’s just what came out. I was amped, pumped.”
After the game, he got soaked by teammates in a clubhouse celebration.
“They ambushed me. They got me pretty good in the shower,” Peterson said. “I’ve got all sorts of smells and scents going on. My hair, that’s not the product I put in there, that’s the stuff they’re all throwing in. I tried to wash it out but, it looks all right I think. That was unbelievable. That was fun.”
Clint Frazier hit a sacrifice fly for the Yankees in the second after Tauchman doubled for his first hit with New York.
Tanaka also went 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run and eight hits with seven strikeouts and no walks as he pitched out of two early jams.
NOT HIS BEST
Chapman lost for the first time since Aug. 25, 2017, and gave up three hits in an inning for the first time since July 3 that year. He said he felt good on the mound, and his pitches were sharp, but the Tigers deserved credit. “It is cold, but that’s not an excuse,” Chapman said through a translator. “I think that the velocity that I have right now, it’s good enough to get the job done.”
Tigers: A sore calf kept Goodrum out of the starting lineup in the cold weather. … OF JaCoby Jones (sprained left shoulder) and RHP Drew VerHagen (right flexor pronator strain) are progressing but will need minor league rehab assignments before coming off the injured list, Gardenhire said.
Yankees: Voit said X-rays on his hand were negative. … RHP Dellin Betances (right shoulder impingement) threw a bullpen that went well, manager Aaron Boone said. … C Gary Sánchez, SS Troy Tulowitzki, and 1B Greg Bird were rested. Bird probably will start Wednesday against the left-hander, Boone said. … RHP Luis Severino (rotator cuff inflammation) is long-tossing but isn’t ready to work off a mound yet.
Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd (0-1, 5.40 ERA) pitches the series finale Wednesday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. Boyd struck out 10 over five innings Friday in Toronto, the second double-digit strikeout game of his career. He is 1-2 with a 7.36 ERA against New York after winning his first start at Yankee Stadium last year.
Yankees: Rookie RHP Jonathan Loaisiga will be called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start. The 24-year-old from Nicaragua was 2-0 with a 5.11 ERA in four starts and five relief appearances for New York last season. He had 33 strikeouts and 12 walks in 24 2/3 innings.
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