- Associated Press - Saturday, June 20, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Justin Verlander didn’t guess that Alex Rodriguez would be swinging from the start.

Bad guess.

Rodriguez homered for his 3,000th career hit and the New York Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers 7-2 Friday night in Verlander’s second start of the season.

The three-time MVP wasted no time, connecting in the first inning on a first-pitch, 95 mph fastball.

“It’s early, I wasn’t really sure if he’d be swinging first pitch or not. In retrospect, I think he was trying to get 3,000 out of the way,” Verlander said.

“That’s historically a pitch I know he likes. It was outside, it was on the black, but it was just a hair up,” he added. “Especially in this ballpark, he’s going to put the barrel on it.”

The homer was A-Rod’s fifth off Verlander in 35 career at-bats.

Out of baseball last year while serving a drug suspension, Rodriguez became the 29th player in major league history to reach 3,000 hits. He was the first to do it since Yankees great Derek Jeter homered from the very same batter’s box in 2011.

Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius also went deep against Verlander as the Yankees won their third in a row. Detroit has lost four of six.

“I wasn’t quite as locked in as I’d like to be,” Verlander said. “I made a few mistakes and they made it hurt.”

“It seemed like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” he said.

Verlander (0-1) lost in his second start of the season and the 300th of his career. He began the season on the disabled list with a strained right triceps.

The right-hander gave up six runs and 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings. He fell to 0-4 at the new Yankee Stadium.

Miguel Cabrera’s streak of consecutive games with an RBI ended at six.

Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez came off the 15-day disabled list and went 1 for 4. He also scored a run while batting cleanup.

Martinez had been out since May 19 because of left knee inflammation. He was hitting .216 with one home run and 15 RBIs before being sidelined.

The 36-year-old switch-hitter was second in AL MVP voting last year after batting .335 with 32 home runs and 103 RBIs.

With the crowd at Yankee Stadium standing in anticipation, Rodriguez sent a high drive to right field. He held onto the bat as he took a few steps toward first base, and outfielder J.D. Martinez bumped into the wall as he backed up.

Fans roared as the ball sailed a half-dozen rows into the seats.

Rodriguez pointed to the crowd a couple of times and blew a kiss to someone behind the backstop after crossing the plate. He was greeted by Mark Teixeira and other teammates between the plate and the dugout, and got a big hug from manager Joe Girardi.

The only other players to hit a homer for No. 3,000 were Jeter and Wade Boggs.

Rodriguez turns 40 next month. He launched his 13th homer of the season and has enjoyed a productive year as a designated hitter after returning from his suspension.

He hit his 667th career home run after beginning the day with a .299 lifetime average in 21 seasons.

Adam Warren (5-4) gave up two runs in a career-high eight innings. He beat Detroit for the second time this season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: C Alex Avila (sore left knee) is traveling with the team on its road trip, catching bullpen sessions. When he’s ready, he’ll go on a minor league rehab assignment.

Yankees: RHP Sergio Santos was put on the 15-day DL with inflammation in his pitching elbow. He gave up two runs in three innings during two relief appearances.

UP NEXT

Tigers: RHP Alfredo Simon (7-3, 2.58 ERA) has done extremely well against A-Rod. Rodriguez is 0 for 7 in his career vs. Simon, striking out twice and walking once.

Yankees: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (5-2, 5.12) will start on three days’ rest for the first time in his career. He threw just 36 pitches in his previous game, giving up eight runs while getting only two outs at Miami.

SIGN HIM UP

The Tigers reached terms with OF Christian Stewart, the 34th overall pick in the recent draft. He was a first-time all-SEC choice at Tennessee.

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