NEW YORK – Jameson Taillon celebrated his first win in exactly two years, Aaron Judge had three hits and three RBIs and the New York Yankees overtook the Detroit Tigers 6-4 on Saturday.
Gleyber Torres also drove in three runs when the Yankees won for the sixth time in seven games, improving to 13-14.
But the headliner was Taillon (1-2), who allowed one run, three hits, and eight over five innings. The Yankees had lost on each of their four previous starts.
Taillon’s previous win came on May 1, 2019 for Pittsburgh in his last pre-surgery match on Tommy John. The Pirates swapped him for the Yankees before this season.
“He was definitely the player of the game for us today,” said Judge of Taillon. “It was a special moment. Whenever you have an injury that big, Tommy John, you know some players think it’s over. But for him it’s work, work, work and I’m really impressed.”
“He’s an inspiration to me,” he said.
Describing the effort as “a step in the right direction”, Taillon was eliminated seven times in a row before Jeimer Candelarios Homer finished 1-1 with Miguel Cabrera in the fourth game.
“It means a lot to him. He loves being here and I’m sure it was emotional for him,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “Knowing it’s been two years, I’m very excited for him. Everyone has been through things and Jamo has definitely gone through his exams.
“It was another step forward for him.”
Taillon received unlikely support in the fifth inning when Detroit threatened to take the lead as Niko Goodrum attempted to advance to third on JaCoby Jones’ hard-hit grounder on the left side of the infield. The ball took a hard bounce, however, and hit Goodrum in the leg for the second time from the inning. Jones was credited with a hit.
“It took me a little longer than I would have liked,” said Taillon, saying that he only won a game in May. “There were times when I wasn’t 100 percent sure that I would ever be in Major League uniform again, much less for a team like the Yankees.”
In a major league season where batting is tight, 11 of the 18 Batters on the Tigers and Yankees starting lineups finished the game with a goal of .198 or below. Detroit started the day with a Majors worst .199 batting average, and Cabrera, a former Triple Crown winner, went 5-0 to drop to .125, one of the five Tigers under .200. But the Yankees, slowly on the offensive after an inconsistent start to the season, had enough to support Taillon’s efforts.
“My awareness of situations today was a little better,” said Taillon. “There were some ups and downs at the beginning of the year, but I learned a lot.”
His manager agreed.
“He keeps hitting the strike zone and taking it out with his fastball at the top of the strike zone,” Boone said. “Today was another day of knowing that he went through a lot to get to this point.”
Spencer Turnbull (1-2) gave up four runs and five hits in five innings. The Tigers lost their fourth in a row, falling to an MLB worst 8-20.
Judge followed up on Friday night’s two-homer-five RBI performance by breaking a 1-all tie with a line-drive double from Turnbull to left field in the fifth inning, scored by DJ LeMahieu.
Turnbull lost control in the sixth inning when he met Aaron Hicks to open the frame and then went to Gary Sanchez and Clint Frazier before being replaced by reliever Jose Cisnero when the Yankees hit 500 in one game.
“We definitely want to be well over 500,” said the judge. “We just have to keep the mindset that every game is the first game of the year.”
The New Yorker Aroldis Chapman threw a perfect ninth place for his fifth save with just as many chances.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.