DETROIT -- Ichiro Suzuki tied a franchise record by logging a hit in 12 straight games to begin his Yankees career, a streak that ended after four at-bats -- including three ugly strikeouts -- as New York's designated hitter on Monday night against the Tigers. The veteran outfielder hadn't struck out in any of his previous 49 plate appearances since being traded to the Yankees on July 23.
Ichiro took his first turn as the Yankees' DH as the club opened a three-game series at Comerica Park with a 7-2 loss to Justin Verlander and the Tigers, stepping into the role with Raul Ibanez playing left field and Nick Swisher manning right field.
"I just thought today was a good day to DH him and see what we can do [on Tuesday] because we're in the midst of 20 [games] in a row," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We're going to go on turf for a few days [in Toronto] as well, so we've got to be careful."
Ichiro, who served as the DH twice this year with Seattle, equaled a mark set by catcher Don Slaught in 1988. Slaught also had hits in his first 12 games after being acquired by the Yankees from the Rangers prior to that season.
Ichiro has yet to post his first multihit game with his new club. His 12 straight games with one hit set a club record; according to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the longest streak of its kind since Willy Aybar had one hit in 13 straight games for the Angels in 2006.
"I think he's done a really good job," Girardi said. "I didn't think coming to New York would bother him because he's had so much to deal with."
Girardi clashes with ump but eludes ejection
DETROIT -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi clashed with home-plate umpire Tony Randazzo in the third inning of New York's 7-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Monday, displeased with the strike zone Randazzo was calling for starting pitchers Justin Verlander and Ivan Nova.
"I didn't care for some of the strikes early in the game, and we were talking back and forth and he looked at me and stared at me," Girardi said. "I don't get it. When the inning's over, walk the other way. It's pretty simple."
Asked if he was surprised that Randazzo allowed Girardi to stay in the game despite what seemed to be a heated exchange, Girardi replied, "I don't know. Maybe. I don't know. I don't think I really said anything that wrong."
Yankees catcher Russell Martin -- who has had his own issues with umpires this year -- declined to criticize Randazzo's zone.
"It looked like it was a bit generous, but he was pretty consistent on both sides," Martin said. "Verlander just seemed like he was hitting those spots more than we were."
Girardi said that Randazzo walked down the first-base line after the top of the third inning and stared into the Yankees dugout. Bench coach Tony Pena moved to hold Girardi back, but Girardi broke free.
"I threw Tony off me pretty easy," Girardi said. "If I want to go, Tony's not going to hold me back."
Joba hits 97 mph in second outing since return
DETROIT -- Joba Chamberlain was clocked as high as 97 mph during his 1 2/3 innings in Monday's 7-2 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park, which the Yankees right-hander views as a very positive sign.
"The first one was just getting it out of the way and trying to build from there," Chamberlain said. "Today was a lot more comfortable; I didn't really have time to think about it. I just had to get out there and try to make pitches. I think that was the biggest thing. All the emotions are gone, and now it's back to work."
Chamberlain relieved Ivan Nova in the sixth inning and allowed a run-scoring single to Jhonny Peralta, charged to Nova's line. Chamberlain pitched around a Prince Fielder single in the seventh, striking out Brennan Boesch looking to end the inning.
"Everything just felt a little rushed in the first one," Chamberlain said. "Today just felt more compact, more fluid and I was able to throw everything for a strike. Obviously, there's still stuff we have to continue to work on, but as far as being able to go out and throw any pitch in any count, I felt really good with it."
Chamberlain's first appearance came at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 2, when he allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings to the Orioles. The Yankees have said that they envision Chamberlain working his way back to the late innings to face both lefties and righties. He has returned from Tommy John surgery as well as an open dislocation of his right ankle.
"I thought it was a big improvement from the last time," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I thought he threw the ball a lot better, so that was encouraging."
Power won't keep Granderson from leadoff spot
DETROIT -- Curtis Granderson has hit leadoff more than in any other spot during his Major League career, having amassed the bulk of those at-bats right here at Comerica Park.
But while the sight of Granderson in the leadoff spot is nothing new for avid Tigers fans, it has been jarring for some Yankees watchers. Granderson batted leadoff again on Monday, his seventh turn in the No. 1 spot for New York this season.
"You look at him against right-handers, and his on-base percentage is one of the highest on the club," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "When we face left-handers, you might see a little bit different type of lineup."
Girardi has had to shuffle his lineup in the absence of right-handed-hitting slugger Alex Rodriguez, trying to avoid stacking his lefties together.
"It's hard when you put two lefties together, or you put three lefties or you have four in a row and you have to pinch-hit early in the game," Girardi said. "It just makes it more difficult. You're trying to make it harder for a manager to get through our lineup. He's got to make a choice."
Granderson might not seem like the ideal leadoff hitter -- he is tied for the Major League lead with 70 homers since the start of 2011 and has just eight stolen bases this year -- but his .349 on-base percentage is third on the club behind Robinson Cano (.419) and Eric Chavez (.350).
Against lefties, Girardi will certainly keep Derek Jeter (.399 on-base percentage) high in the order, but the manager has other options to mull. Nick Swisher (.341) is a strong choice, but Russell Martin actually leads the club with a .413 OBP vs. southpaws this season.
Yanks relieved to have Teixeira near full health
DETROIT -- The Yankees were very concerned when Mark Teixeira missed two games last week with a sore left wrist, but they've been relieved by the switch-hitter's return to action.
After having a cortisone shot and some rest, Teixeira returned to action on Friday and went 2-for-9 with an RBI in the weekend series against the Mariners at Yankee Stadium.
"I think he's been OK," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "My biggest thing is, is it hindering him? I don't think that it's hindering him. I can't tell you that he's 100 percent, but I don't know anyone that's 100 percent at this point of the season."
Teixeira aggravated his wrist injury diving for a ball in a July 30 loss to the Orioles, but he said that the wrist was initially hurt the night before on a swing against the Red Sox's Felix Doubront.
Jeter entered play on Monday with a .344 lifetime average (11-for-32) against Tigers ace Justin Verlander, the fourth-highest average among Major Leaguers with at least 30 at-bats against the right-hander.
"I'm sure he enjoys the challenge," Girardi said.
Catching prospect Austin Romine was promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday. Sidelined for most of this season by a back injury, Romine will join Francisco Cervelli with the Yankees' highest farm club. Girardi expects to have a third catcher in September when rosters expand but wouldn't commit to Cervelli being that choice.
Girardi said that he has not spoken to Cervelli this season. Cervelli was upset to be sent down at the end of Spring Training when the club acquired Chris Stewart from the Giants.
"I don't think I have, but we keep in communication and I check with people who go down and watch him play, and they said he's playing pretty well," Girardi said. "He has the energy back there, and he's doing a good job."
On this date in 1979, Bobby Murcer talked manager Billy Martin into putting him into the Yankees' lineup after delivering an emotional eulogy at Thurman Munson's funeral in Canton, Ohio. Murcer hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning and a two-run single in the ninth, accounting for all five runs in a 5-4 comeback win over the Orioles.