- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - Rick Porcello was sharp, Joe Nathan was composed - and the Detroit Tigers gave their home fans reason to cheer again.

What they didn’t do was gain ground in the AL Central race.

“All we can do is continue to go out, try and win whenever we can, play consistent,” Nathan said. “Don’t focus on the results, but concentrate on each at-bat and each pitch and have fun competing.”

Porcello pitched eight impressive innings to set a career high for victories, and the Tigers snapped New York’s five-game winning streak Tuesday night, beating the Yankees 5-2. But division-leading Kansas City rallied past Minnesota with a ninth-inning homer, leaving Detroit still 1 1/2 games behind.

“They’re playing really, really good baseball,” Nathan said.

The Tigers haven’t played all that well in August, but they’ve now won three in a row, and the vibe at Comerica Park on Tuesday was a positive one. Nathan has struggled all season, and he’s had a strained relationship with Detroit fans of late, but the home crowd was chanting “Let’s go, Joe!” in the ninth as the right-hander worked through his first perfect inning since Aug. 5.

“It was nice,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “Really, it would be a great side story if Joe could run the gamut here the last 30 or so games and endear himself to Tiger fans again.”

Porcello (15-8) joined teammate Max Scherzer as the American League’s only 15-game winners, allowing two runs and nine hits. The 25-year-old right-hander threw a shutout in his previous start against Tampa Bay, and he blanked the Yankees until Jacoby Ellsbury’s homer in the fifth.

Ellsbury added another solo shot in the eighth.

Brandon McCarthy (5-3) dealt with some uncharacteristic control problems in the second, and he ended up allowing five runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings.

“I never felt sharp, and I never felt comfortable mechanically,” McCarthy said. “This happens to everyone - you just have a game where the ball won’t go where you want it, and you have to find a way to battle through it.”

Nathan earned his 28th save in 34 chances. First baseman Miguel Cabrera made two nice plays to close out the win.

McCarthy entered the game with only seven walks in 52 innings since the Yankees acquired him from Arizona in early July, but after J.D. Martinez singled to start the Detroit second, the New York right-hander walked Nick Castellanos and hit Eugenio Suarez one out later. A walk to Rajai Davis forced in the game’s first run.

Martinez’s RBI single in the third made it 2-0, although Ellsbury cut the lead in half with his first home run of the night.

The Tigers added two runs in the sixth on an RBI single by Castellanos and a double-play grounder by Alex Avila. Torii Hunter’s RBI single in the seventh made it 5-1 and chased McCarthy.

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