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05/12/10 8:00 PM ET

CC sets up against Verlander in finale

Mark Teixeira's three-homer game in Boston last Saturday afternoon unfolded like something right out of a Charles Dickens novel. "The best of times ... the worst of times."

Teixeira had matched Lou Gehrig as the only Yankees player to three-time the Red Sox, which was a very good thing. But in that same game, thanks to a fourth hit, Teixeira had also gotten his season average above .200 for the first time.

Considering that had been the Yankees' 29th game, that wasn't a boastful moment. Teixeira has spent the three games since treading the .200 waters -- a 2-for-5 game in a Game 2 win in Wednesday's doubleheader got him back to .203 -- and Tigers ace Justin Verlander could still send him out of Detroit on the Interstate in Thursday afternoon's series finale.

Verlander could also give the Tigers their first home series win over the Yankees since Aug. 24-27, 2007, when Detroit also took three out of four.

From a team perspective, though, the Yankees' ability to overcome their first baseman's typically slow start is reason to crow. Especially since hence they can count on his production.

Teixeira is keeping a familiar schedule. He finished last April, his first month with the Yankees, with 10 RBIs, awoke in May with 34 and ended the season as their leader in the category with 122.

By driving in three runs in his team's late win over the Tigers on Wednesday, Teixeira took over the club lead with 25 RBIs. The train is again running on time.

Through much of the season's first six weeks, the quiet hasn't just been from Teixeira, who bats in the No. 3 spot in the order. He and a rotation of hitters in the No. 2 hole have combined to dig a big, well, hole. Even after Teixeira and Brett Gardner combined to go 5-for-10 on Wednesday night, those two lineup spots are hitting .207, in part because of the .167 batting average owned by Nick Johnson, currently on the disabled list

The low composite average helps explain that while Miguel Cabrera leads the Tigers into the finale of this series with 33 RBIs, no one on the Yankees has more than 25. New York's table-setters have fumbled the tray too often.

Yet the Yankees will head home following Thursday's game for an important 10-day stay in New York that could see them rise back atop the American League East standings. The division-leading Rays will be one of the teams passing through Yankee Stadium.

New York starter CC Sabathia will take the mound in a sour mood on Thursday, still bugged by the raw deal he got in his last outing, on Saturday at Fenway Park. He had a comfortable lead in the bottom of the fifth and a 2-2 count with two outs on Victor Martinez when the rains came and umpiring crew chief Tim McClelland waved the players off and the tarp on the field.

The game resumed much later without Sabathia, who thus fell one strike short of qualifying for the Yankees' eventual 14-3 win.

Yankees: Aceves takes a seat
With Alfredo Aceves going on the 15-day DL with a stiff back, Chan Ho Park's return becomes more critical. So the Yankees were heartened by Park's sharp outing on Wednesday in an extended spring game. Park, on the DL with a strained right hamstring, struck out the side while allowing one hit in a scoreless inning. ... Derek Jeter went hitless in both games on Wednesday, and a 4-for-39 dry spell has spiraled his average down to .270.

Tigers: Jackson rebounds
Austin Jackson came back from Monday night's 0-for-4 game to go 1-for-4 in both of Wednesday's contests, putting Detroit manager Jim Leyland a little more at ease after having worried about the predictable crush of New York media around the former Yankees prospect. "I'm concerned about this series because of what's going on out there now," Leyland had admitted.

Worth noting
Both teams dreaded the day-night doubleheader caused by Tuesday night's rainout, but both the Yankees and Tigers had to be thrilled with the outcome. The Yankees dropped the first game, 2-0, but regained Javier Vazquez, and the Tigers scored only two runs all day but got a split.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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