Playoff Pursuit

The New York Yankees look to recover from a draining and frustrating night - and early morning - when they send Chien-Ming Wang to the mound to continue a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers later on Saturday.

New York (71-57) will have to regroup after losing Friday's series opener in difficult fashion. Detroit (69-59) won 9-6 in 11 innings on Carlos Guillen's three-run homer in a game that took 4 hours, 25 minutes and ended at 3:30 a.m. EDT Saturday. The game, scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m, finally got under way after a 4 hour, 1 minute rain delay.

``First time I hit one at 3:30 in the morning,'' Guillen said. ``Long day for us.''

Combined with Boston's doubleheader sweep of the Chicago White Sox earlier Friday, the loss dropped the Yankees 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Red Sox in the AL East.

``It's just tough to take a loss at 3-something in the morning,'' said New York's Jorge Posada, who was ejected in the ninth after arguing a called third strike call by home plate umpire Bob Davidson.

New York also lost ground in the AL wild card race, falling three games behind Seattle, which beat Texas on Friday. The Yankees fell to 1-4 on the road in extra innings.

The Yankees depleted their bullpen, which got 5 2-3 scoreless innings from five relievers before Sean Henn allowed Guillen's walk-off homer. Detroit's bullpen was slightly better, yielding just three hits over 6 2-3 scoreless innings.

The Tigers pulled within 1 1/2 games of first-place Cleveland in the AL Central with just their eighth win in 23 games. The Indians lost Friday at Kansas City.

Wang (14-6, 4.10 ERA) will be facing the Tigers for the second time in less than a week. He improved to 4-0 with a 2.90 ERA in five starts against Detroit after a 9-3 home victory on Sunday, when he yielded three runs and nine hits over six innings.

The right-hander also won the opener of last year's AL division series against the Tigers by giving up three runs over 6 2-3 innings in an 8-4 victory.

Wang will look to remain perfect when pitching with one extra day of rest. He's 6-0 with a 3.13 ERA in seven starts this year on five days' rest.

Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made New York -150 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 10 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 63% of bets for this game have been placed on New York -150 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

The Yankees ace will be facing a red-hot hitter in Magglio Ordonez, who homered and went 4-for-6 on Friday. Ordonez, who leads the majors with a .357 batting average, is 18-for-33 (.545) with six homers and 15 RBIs over his last eight home games.

Detroit's Placido Polanco committed a throwing error in the first inning, ending his major league-record errorless streak by second basemen at 147 games.

Struggling Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman (10-6, 4.65) will oppose Wang for the second straight start after he allowed four runs and seven hits over six innings Sunday. He fell to 2-5 with a 5.19 ERA in eight career starts against the Yankees, although he beat them in Game 4 of last year's ALDS by allowing two runs over 8 1-3 innings in an 8-3 win.

Bonderman, who began the season 10-1, is 0-5 with an 8.41 ERA in his last six starts. He's also just 4-17 with a 5.82 ERA in his career in August - the only month is which he owns a losing record.

The right-hander has lost his last two home starts in ugly fashion, posting a 9.00 ERA and allowing opponents to bat .377.

New York's Johnny Damon is 12-for-28 (.429) against Bonderman in his career, going 2-for-3 with a homer on Sunday.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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