Damon shows Yanks what they're missing

Damon shows Yanks what they're missing

TIGERS (ss) 6, YANKEES (ss) 2
at Lakeland, Fla.
Saturday, March 13

Yankees at the plate: The Bronx Bombers had their fair share of hits but not enough runs to show for them. Back-to-back singles from Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira brought around Derek Jeter for a run in the third before Alex Rodriguez doubled in Teixeira in the fifth. Jeter, Rodriguez and Francisco Cervelli had two hits each.

Tigers at the plate: Johnny Damon had an impact in his first game against his old team with an RBI single as part of a three-run second inning and a solo homer to lead off a three-run fifth. Ryan Raburn doubled in a run with a solid line drive to center in the third before he scored as part of a 4-for-4 performance. Gerald Laird added a two-run single in the fifth.

Yankees on the mound: Rotation candidates Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre each gave up three runs -- Gaudin over three innings, Mitre over four. Mitre settled down for a solid seventh inning.

Tigers on the mound: Dontrelle Willis said he felt "terrible" physically, but he still kept a dangerous Yankees split-squad lineup relatively quiet. New York's third-inning run was the first allowed by Willis in seven frames this spring, but he escaped damage with an inning-ending double play to finish with one run on four hits. Fellow rotation candidate Jeremy Bonderman had almost the exact same pitching line, but he added two strikeouts of Marcus Thames and retired his final four batters.

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Worth noting: Tigers rookie center fielder and former Yankees prospect Austin Jackson helped out Willis tremendously by running down wind-blown drives for two highlight catches in the second inning. His twisting catch against the fence in straightaway center robbed Thames of an extra-base hit, before his leaping catch against the right-field fence retired David Winfree to end the inning with a runner stranded.

Grapefruit League records: Yankees 5-6, Tigers 5-6.

Up next: Rick Porcello gets a full Tigers squad and a trio of lefty relievers behind him and a Gameday Audio listening on Sunday, when the Tigers host the Rays for a 1:05 p.m. ET matchup at Joker Marchant Stadium. Daniel Schlereth, Fu-Te Ni and Phil Coke will follow, as will fastballer Joel Zumaya as he continues his effort to mix his pitches. Jeff Niemann is slated to start for Tampa Bay, followed by Alex Torres and Jeremy Hellickson.

The Yankees are on the road on Sunday, traveling to Bradenton, Fla., to meet the Pirates in a 1:05 p.m. ET start on MLB.TV. Probable Opening Day starter CC Sabathia will be on the hill for New York, opposed by right-hander Charlie Morton. The Yankees' travel roster will include Robinson Cano, Jeter, Nick Johnson, Teixeira, Brett Gardner and Swisher.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.