Playoff Series: Game 2 of 5

Detroit leads 3-2 (as of 10/2)

Game 1: Friday, September 30
NY Yankees9
Game 2: Sunday, October 2
NY Yankees3
Game 3: Monday, October 3
NY Yankees4Final
Game 4: Tuesday, October 4
NY Yankees10Final
Game 5: Thursday, October 6
NY Yankees2

    3:07 PM ET, October 2, 2011

    Yankee Stadium, New York, New York 

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    DET 200002001 5 9 0
    NYY 000000012 3 5 1

    W: M. Scherzer (1-0)

    L: F. Garcia (0-1)

    Miguel Cabrera's bat ties Tigers-Yanks at 1

    Associated Press

    NEW YORK -- Jose Valverde and the Detroit Tigers nearly let this one slip away.

    Instead, they're on solid footing with ace Justin Verlander set to start back home at Comerica Park.

    The Tigers and their excitable closer somehow held off the Yankees' furious rain-soaked rally in the ninth inning and Detroit beat New York 5-3 on Sunday, evening their best-of-five AL playoff series at one game apiece.

    Down 5-1, the Yankees scored twice in the ninth and had a chance to win it after Detroit catcher Alex Avila lost his balance on the slick on-deck circle while chasing Curtis Granderson's two-out foul popup.

    "It's tough to win games here, especially in the playoffs," Avila said. "You get what you can and get ready for the next game and that's all you can think about."

    After his pop landed untouched, Granderson walked. With two on, Robinson Cano came to the plate.

    Cano, who hit a grand slam and had six RBIs as the Yankees won the opener, wiped away raindrops from his helmet while Valverde tried to get a good grip.

    With the crowd roaring, Cano hit a routine groundball to end it.

    "All of a sudden, against anybody -- but particularly against a team like them with the short porch in right field -- it was not a good feeling," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "But it worked out OK."

    Tigers starter Max Scherzer pitched no-hit ball into the sixth before Cano blooped an opposite-field single to left.

    Miguel Cabrera's two-run homer in the first off Freddy Garcia gave Scherzer an early edge, and the Tigers took a 4-0 lead into the eighth.

    Granderson hit a solo homer off Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit in the eighth. Pretty soon, the rain -- and all the drama -- filled Yankee Stadium.

    "Today, we proved that we can compete. (Monday) is going to be a different story," Benoit said. "We go home, we're going to play in our home ballpark, which is a little bit more fair."

    Game 3 is Monday at Detroit. In a rematch, of sorts, CC Sabathia is scheduled to start against Verlander, a 24-game winner. The two All-Stars faced each other in the series opener Friday night, but the game was suspended after only 1½ innings because of rain.

    The Yankees lost three of four this year at Detroit and are 22-25 at Comerica Park since it opened in 2000. It's one of only two AL stadiums where New York has a losing record.

    "The mentality here is everything is high, we feel good, and we just lost a tough one here today," said Nick Swisher, who homered on Valverde's first pitch.

    Playing on the scheduled travel day, the Tigers now fly home with a chance to take command of the series, just as they did in 2006, when they lost the opener in New York before sweeping three straight.

    Planning on playing two more days in a row in Detroit, Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not use his top late-game relievers, Rafael Soriano and David Robertson, and Detroit added a run in the ninth on Don Kelly's RBI single off Luis Ayala for a 5-1 lead.

    "Being down three runs, and you know what Valverde has done all year long, we decided to go to Ayala," Girardi said.

    Valverde entered in the ninth with a four-run lead. He led the majors in going 49 of 49 in save chances this year, and the Tigers were a perfect 83-0 this season when taking an edge into the ninth.

    But this was not a save situation for Valverde, and he was far from perfect.

    "It's a little hard. That's what happens sometimes," Valverde said.

    Swisher began the comeback with a drive over the right-field wall. Jorge Posada followed with the first career postseason triple and Russell Martin walked. With the crowd rooting for a rally, Andruw Jones hit a sacrifice fly that made it 5-2.

    "We always have faith," Posada said.

    Derek Jeter struck out as the rain that has hounded this playoff series from the start returned in buckets. Granderson then lifted his foul pop near the Detroit dugout and Avila tracked it.

    But the All-Star catcher slipped on the mat sporting the Yankees' logo, lost his balance and had no play.

    "I was looking to see where the railing was, and I hit the on-deck circle and my foot went right underneath me," Avila said. "I couldn't recover after that."

    Given another chance, Granderson drew a walk that sent him to first base as the tying run.

    Cano and Valverde both did their best to stay dry -- the Yankees' star asked for a towel to wipe off his helmet, the Tigers' relief ace tried to tuck away the ball in his glove.

    Valverde won this matchup, retiring Cano on an easy grounder to second base.

    Cabrera took advantage of the short right field porch in the Bronx to give Detroit a 2-0 lead. The AL's top hitter this year added an RBI single in a two-run second that began with a throwing error by Jeter.

    Making his postseason debut, the 27-year-old Scherzer excelled. He gave up two hits, struck out five and walked four. He was lifted for Benoit with a 4-0 lead after allowing a walk and a single to Jorge Posada to open the seventh as ominous clouds settled over the ballpark.

    "I had confidence I was going to pitch well today," Scherzer said. "I was just very relaxed and was able to slow everything down and it allowed me to pitch my game."

    Benoit had not given up a run in his last 22 outings and he retired Martin, then struck out pinch-hitter Eric Chavez as it began to pour, sending fans running for cover.

    Jeter came up with runners on first and second for the second time in the game and struck out looking with rain drops dotting his batting helmet.

    Umpires never called for the tarp and blue skies returned about 10 minutes later in the top of the eighth in a game that began with players wearing sunglasses after two days of wet weather.

    Benoit gave up Granderson's to start the eighth but got Alex Rodriguez, 0 for 8 in the series, and Mark Teixeira to pop out, eliciting boos from many of the 50,596 in attendance.

    "I don't have any plans of changing my lineup," said Girardi, when asked about Rodriguez's struggles. "I'm not going to make too much of two games."

    Game notes

    The Yankees also have a losing record at the Los Angeles Angels' ballpark in Anaheim. ... Andy Pettitte, the Yankees' stalwart Game 2 starter for five World Series championship teams, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. His wife, Laura, sang the national anthem. ... The Yankees had won seven straight division series games. They swept Minnesota in 2009 and '10 and won Game 1 Saturday. ... Benoit struck out the final seven batters he faced in the regular season. ... Cabrera stole second in the eighth. He had two steals in the regular season. ... Ramon Santiago had two sacrifice bunts. ... The Tigers handed the Yankees a rare day-game defeat. New York was a major league best 44-12 (.786) during the afternoon in the regular season, the best winning percentage in the modern era.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Game Information

    StadiumYankee Stadium, New York, NY
    Attendance50,596 (102.8% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
    Game Time3:34
    Weather61 degrees, partly cloudy
    Wind13 mph
    UmpiresHome Plate - Eric Cooper, First Base - Gerry Davis, Second Base - Dan Iassogna, Third Base - Ted Barrett

    Research Notes

    Jorge Posada is the 2nd 40 year-old to hit a triple in a postseason game. The other was Joe Morgan (also 40 years old) in Game 5 of the 1983 World Series for the Phillies.
    Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez are the 2nd set of Tigers teammates to have 3-hit games in the postseason in the Divisional Era. The other set was Sean Casey and Ivan Rodriguez in 2006 WS Game 4.
    In the Yankees last 8 LDS appearances, the result of Game 2 of the series matched the result of the series. In other words, if the Yankees won Game 2, as they did four times, they won the seris. If the Yankees lost Game 2, as they did 4 times, they lost the series.
    ScherzerMax Scherzer is just the third pitcher to toss at least six shutout innings and allow two hits or fewer in a playoff game against the Yankees in the Bronx. The others are Warren Spahn and Cliff Lee.
    Miguel Cabrera is the first Tigers player with 3 hits and 3 RBI in a postseason game since Kirk Gibson in Game 5 of the 1984 World Series. He's the 5th player in Tigers history with such a game, joining Hank Greenberg (2x), Al Kaline, Alan Trammell (2x)
    Jorge Posada is the 3rd Yankee DH to hit a postseason triple. The others were David Justice (2004 ALCS) and Ruben Sierra (2001 ALDS)
    Curtis Granderson: 2nd career postseason HR as a Yankee; joins Bernie Williams (28), Mickey Mantle (15), Joe DiMaggio (8) as the only Yankee CF with 2 or more postseason HR.
    From Elias: ** Max Scherzer: no-hit bid ends at 5 1/3 innings That matches the longest no-hit bid against the Yankees in postseason history. Paul Abbott (5 IP) and Norm Charlton (1/3 IP) combined for the longest bid in Game 4 of the ALCS, a game the Yankees would win. Tino Martinez broke up the no-hitter with a double in the sixth inning.
    Derek Jeter: 15th career postseason error, most all-time (2nd-most is Art Fletcher, 12)
    How Yankees "reliever" Ivan Nova beat the Tigers: Nova had good command of his offspeed pitches, not allowing a hit against his changeup, curveball or slider on Saturday. Nova worked around the zone both vertically and horizontally, mixing up location in and out of the zone. All five of Nova's strikeouts (which were on offspeed pitches) came on pitches out of the zone, and overall the Tigers went 0 for 9. It's the first time since back-to-back starts in June that Nova hadn't allowed a hit against any of his offspeed pitches.

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