MLB playoffs: Tigers beat Yankees, close in on sweep of series
ALCS • Tigers need only 1 more win after 2-1 victory over N.Y.
Published: October 17, 2012 12:02AM
Updated: February 7, 2013 11:31PM
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Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander congratulates first baseman Prince Fielder after New York Yankees' Raul Ibanez grounded out to Fielder in the seventh inning during Game 3 of the American League championship series Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya )

Detroit • Justin Verlander and Detroit’s stellar starters are one win from the World Series.

Verlander took a shutout into the ninth inning and the Tigers held on to beat the New York Yankees 2-1 Tuesday night for a 3-0 lead in the AL championship series.

Phil Coke gave up consecutive singles with two outs in the ninth before striking out postseason star Raul Ibanez for his second save in two games. Detroit can complete a sweep and earn its second pennant in seven years Wednesday night when Max Scherzer pitches against Yankees ace CC Sabathia.

“We put ourselves in a decent position, but that’s all we have done,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

Verlander allowed only a pair of singles by Ichiro Suzuki and a leadoff homer by Eduardo Nunez in the ninth. Delmon Young hit a solo home run for the Tigers, and Miguel Cabrera had an RBI double.

Yankees starter Phil Hughes was lifted in the fourth because of a stiff back, and manager Joe Girardi’s lineup shuffle — Alex Rodriguez was benched again — failed to snap New York out of its untimely hitting funk.

“There were some good at-bats tonight. The ball was not carrying tremendously well tonight, we know that,” Girardi said. “But I think he ended up with three strikeouts. So our guys put the ball in play and tried to get on base, but, you know, when you face Verlander, you know what you’re up against.”

Seeking their first World Series title since 1984, the Tigers were on a historic pitching run even before their ace took the mound Tuesday. With the exception of a four-run ninth inning against Detroit closer Jose Valverde in Game 1, New York had been shut out for the entire series.

Nunez’s homer snapped a streak of 37 innings by Detroit starters without allowing an earned run, the longest in a single postseason in the live-ball era.

Verlander fell just short of a second straight shutout after stopping the Oakland Athletics in the decisive fifth game of the division series. He struck out only three but kept New York off the scoreboard until the homer to left field by Nunez, the first run allowed by the powerful right-hander since he gave up a leadoff homer to Coco Crisp in Game 1 of the ALDS.

Verlander got Brett Gardner on a tapper before he was lifted after 132 pitches, one shy of his career high set in Game 5 of last year’s ALCS against Texas.

Tigers 2, Yankees 1

New York AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Gardner lf 4 0 0 0 0 0 .000

I.Suzuki rf 4 0 2 0 0 1 .429

Teixeira 1b 4 0 1 0 0 0 .250

1-J.Nix pr 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Cano 2b 4 0 1 0 0 1 .071

Ibanez dh 4 0 0 0 0 1 .273

R.Martin c 3 0 0 0 0 0 .167

Er.Chavez 3b 3 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Granderson cf 3 0 0 0 0 1 .000

E.Nunez ss 3 1 1 1 0 0 .333

Totals 32 1 5 1 0 4

Detroit AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

A.Jackson cf 3 0 1 0 1 0 .308

Berry lf 3 1 1 0 0 0 .250

a-A.Garcia ph-rf 1 0 1 0 0 0 .500

Mi.Cabrera 3b 3 0 1 1 1 0 .364

Fielder 1b 3 0 0 0 1 0 .167

D.Young dh 3 1 1 1 1 1 .308

Dirks rf-lf 3 0 0 0 1 0 .077

Jh.Peralta ss 4 0 0 0 0 0 .385

Avila c 4 0 1 0 0 2 .200

Infante 2b 4 0 1 0 0 0 .154

Totals 31 2 7 2 5 3

New York 000 000 001 — 1 5 1

Detroit 000 110 00x — 2 7 0

a-singled for Berry in the 6th. 1-ran for Teixeira in the 9th. E—Er.Chavez (1). LOB—New York 4, Detroit 10. 2B—Mi.Cabrera (1). HR—E.Nunez (1), off Verlander D.Young (2), off P.Hughes. RBIs—E.Nunez (1), Mi.Cabrera (2), D.Young (5). SB—Berry (1), Infante (1). Runners left in scoring position—New York 1 (Ibanez) Detroit 6 (D.Young, Fielder, A.Jackson, Jh.Peralta, Mi.Cabrera 2). RISP—New York 0 for 1 Detroit 2 for 10. Runners moved up—Berry. GIDP—Mi.Cabrera. DP—New York 1 (Er.Chavez, Cano, Teixeira).

New York IP H R ER BB SO ERA

P.Hughes L, 0-1 3 3 1 1 3 1 3.00

D.Phelps 1 2 1 0 0 0 9.00

Rapada 2⁄3 0 0 0 1 0 0.00

Eppley 2⁄3 1 0 0 1 1 0.00

Logan 21⁄3 1 0 0 0 1 0.00

Chamberlain 1⁄3 0 0 0 0 0 0.00

Detroit IP H R ER BB SO ERA

Verlander W, 1-0

81⁄3 3 1 1 0 3 1.08

Coke 2⁄3 2 0 0 0 1 0.00

P.Hughes pitched to 2 batters in the 4th.

D.Phelps pitched to 2 batters in the 5th.

Inherited runners-scored—D.Phelps 1-0, Rapada 1-0, Eppley 2-0, Logan 2-0. IBB—off Rapada (D.Young). PB—R.Martin.

Umpires—Home, Sam Holbrook First, Jeff Nelson Second, Gary Cederstrom Third, Mike Winters Right, Rob Drake Left, Jeff Kellogg.

T—3:28. A—42,970 (41,255).

New York at Detroit

P Wednesday, 6 p.m.

TV • TBS

Tigers lead series 3-0