Reyes hits 1st HR as Tigers split with Yankees, 11-7

By JERRY BEACH

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Being a Rule 5 draft pick usually means putting in far more time before a game than during it. On Sunday, the hard work paid off for rookie Victor Reyes and the Detroit Tigers.

Reyes hit his first major league homer, doubled twice and singled in leading the Tigers over the New York Yankees 11-7.

“He works his tail off,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He does everything he’s supposed to do and he competes up here just like the rest of those guys. He has ability, that’s why they drafted him, that’s why we picked him up.”

The 23-year-old outfielder, who hadn’t played above Double-A before the Tigers selected him from Arizona last December in the Rule 5 draft for players left off 40-man rosters, drove in three runs with his career-high four hits.

“It’s hard work every day,” Reyes said through a translator. “It’s coming to the park (to) work hard. I’m ready for any time the team needs me.”

As a Rule 5 player, Reyes must either stay on the big league roster all season or be offered back to the Diamondbacks. Striking a balance between keeping Reyes sharp and running the risk of exposing him against competition he’s never faced has been a season-long challenge for Gardenhire, who admits he didn’t play Reyes enough in the first half.

Reyes made 22 starts in 99 games before the All-Star break, but has started 23 of Detroit’s 38 second-half games.

“It’s been a pleasure having him up here, to tell you the truth, and watching him get to play,” Gardenhire said. “As I’ve started playing him more, he’s done more. That’s kind of what you’re supposed to do.”

Batting last, Reyes delivered RBI doubles in the second and fourth, when his hit gave Detroit the lead for good. He homered in the sixth, connecting in his 82nd game in the big leagues.

“Unbelievable emotion,” Reyes said. “Running around the bases, first big league home run in Yankee Stadium, you can’t describe the feeling.”

∫ BOONE BAN: Boone served a one-game suspension for his heated argument Friday night with home plate umpire Nic Lentz. Boone made the highlight shows for getting into a crouch to explain his displeasure with Lentz’s strike zone, though he was punished for bumping caps with Lentz and jabbing his pointer finger in the umpire’s face.

“Obviously, I got a little to closer for comfort there, so that’s part of the deal,” said Boone, who was informed of the decision by one of his predecessors, MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre.

It was the first suspension for Boone, whose ejection was his third of his rookie season. He watched the game from a luxury suite as Bard took over.