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08/17/10 5:25 PM ET

Tigers stand in way of Yankees' business

It's a forgiving segment of the schedule, a chance for the Yankees to momentarily forget one of the most exciting pennant chases in the league. New York is neck-and-neck with Tampa Bay in the American League East but is playing though a section of the slate that presents 11 straight games against teams with losing records.

The Yankees kicked off that run with a 2-2 series against Kansas City, and they will try to guarantee at least a series split against Detroit on Wednesday. The Yankees -- who are tied with Cincinnati for the most winning series (24) in the Majors this season -- will conclude their stretch against sub-.500 teams this weekend against Seattle after the finale against the Tigers on Thursday.

And while that's going on, the Yankees will have to fight themselves to keep from paying attention to Tampa Bay. The two teams haven't been separated by more than two games since July 27, and they enter Wednesday's action in a dead heat at the top of the division. The Yankees and Rays will play each other seven times in September.

The Tigers are the immediate obstacle, though, and they boast one of the league's hottest hitters. Miguel Cabrera has been putting together the type of season that will earn him consideration for the AL's Most Valuable Player Award and has been especially good on the road this year, not to mention a thorn in the Yankees' side during his career.

Cabrera is batting .348 (71-for-204) with 16 doubles, 16 home runs and 52 RBIs in 55 road games this season, a run of success that pales in comparison to what he's done against New York. Cabrera has hit safely in 20 of 21 career games against the Yankees, notching a .365 (27-for-74) average with 10 extra-base hits and 14 RBIs.

New York has its own star-studded offensive core, though, a unit perhaps best exemplified by the work from stars Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez missed Tuesday's game with a case of tightness in his left calf, but New York still stacked up enough offense to win without him.

The Yankees, who are also playing through a stretch of 17 home games in a 23-game span, will turn to erstwhile reliever Dustin Moseley on Wednesday. New York boasts the second-best home record (37-21) of any AL team this season, giving the Tigers another element that appears to be going against them.

Detroit will hand the ball to veteran Jeremy Bonderman, and the right-hander will be trying to rebound from two straight losses. Bonderman has posted an ERA over 5.00 in every month but May, and he's managed to complete six innings and hold the opposition to three earned runs or less 10 times this season.

Tigers: Jackson on display against former team
Outfielder Austin Jackson added another reference point to his standout rookie season Tuesday, when he homered against the Yankees, the team that drafted and developed him. With that hit, Jackson passed Matt Nokes (133) for the most hits by a Detroit rookie in the last 25 years. Now, Jackson is chasing Ricky Peters (139 hits in 1980).

Jackson, acquired last December in a three-team trade that sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees, has made the transaction worth the Tigers' while. Granderson exited Tuesday's game hitting just .248, and reliever Phil Coke -- who was acquired with Jackson -- has posted a 1.37 ERA in his last 32 games for Detroit.

Yankees: No. 2 bats second with success
With Rodriguez ailing, the Yankees dropped Jeter in the batting order Tuesday. Jeter batted second for just the fourth time all season, yielding the top spot in the order to left fielder Brett Gardner. The Yankees got a single and two walks from Jeter, who has hit safely in 15 of his last 19 games, in his rare cameo out of the leadoff slot.

The Yankees got a home run from Granderson -- his 12th of the season and fifth of the second half -- on Tuesday, to provide a fitting counterpoint to Jackson's home run. New York only got one other extra-base hit, a double from Gardner, in the victory. Teixeira, Jeter and Gardner combined for five walks en route to the win.

Worth noting
Prior to Tuesday's game, Cabrera had hit safely in all 20 career games against the Yankees. ... Six of New York's last nine games have been decided by one run. The Yankees are 13-11 in those circumstances this season. ... New York's relief staff has held its opponents scoreless in 16 of its last 21 games. ... Detroit closer Jose Valverde has converted 23 straight save opportunities. ... New York is playing through a stretch of 36 games in 37 days and is 15-13 thus far.

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