Then came the rain. After about half an hour, the tarp was pulled and it looked like baseball would continue, but the rain came down harder and eventually MLB determined there would be no more baseball on Friday.
New York broke the tie in the fifth inning. With two outs, Granderson singled to right. Cano doubled off the top of the wall in left, missing a homerun by inches but allowing Granderson to score. After the play was reviewed, Rodriguez hit a hard fly ball to center, but it was caught by Austin Jackson to end the inning. Still, the Yankees took a 2-1 lead and had hit three balls pretty hard off Fister.
The Tigers threatened in the top of the sixth, when Jackson led off with a walk. Cano was playing close to second, with the speedy Jackson on first, and Magglio Ordonez hit into an easy double play. Young hit a fly ball to right field and Nick Swisher made a great catch to end the inning.
The Bombers broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth. Mark Teixeira led off with a double to left. Swisher struck out looking and Jorge Posada worked a walk. Russell Martin grounded out to short, moving the runners over. Brett Gardner then rapped a single to right, plating two runs. Jeter followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Jeter stole second and Granderson worked a full count before taking a walk to load the bases. Jim Leyland decided he had seen enough from Fister and called on Al Alburquerque to face Cano. The New York second baseman promptly planted the second pitch he saw into the stands in right for a grand slam, giving the Yankees a solid 8-1 lead over Detroit.
New York added another run in the bottom of the eighth. Jeter singled with one out to give the Yankees a base runner. Granderson struck out, but Cano struck again as he hammered a double to center, playing Jeter for a 9-1 lead.
Detroit managed a rally in the top of the ninth. Nova got Ordonez to groundout to start the inning, but Young singled, as he lined the ball off Nova on the mound. The Yankees’ rookie pitcher said he was fine, but appeared to be a bit rattled, as he walked Miguel Cabrera and allowed a single to Victor Martinez to load the bases. Joe Girardi pulled Nova, who got a nice ovation from the crowd, and called on Luis Ayala. Alex Avila grounded the ball to Jeter who threw out Martinez at second, allowing Young to score. Ryan Raburn grounded a single to left, plating Cabrera. Jhonny Peralta followed with a single to center, loading the bases as Girardi decided he’d seen enough of Ayala and called for Mariano Rivera. The Yankees legendary closer needed just three pitches to strike out Wilson Betemit and wrap up the Yankees 9-3 victory in the first game of the ALDS.
Notes on Game 1:
- The game started at 8:37pm on September 30, 2011 and ended at 11:33pm on October 1, 2011. That’s almost 27 hours between the first and last pitches.
- Cano hit the eleventh grand slam in Yankees’ postseason history and the 50th overall in postseason history.
- Cano’s six RBIs tied Hideki Matsui, Bernie Williams, and Bobby Richardson for most RBIs in a postseason game by a Yankee.
- Alburquerque hadn’t given up a homer in 43.1 innings before Cano went yard on him.
- Nova was the 8th Yankee to go over 6 innings in postseason relief appearance, and the first since Dick Tidrow did in Game 1 of the 1977 ALCS.
A Few Postgame Quotes:
- “When you throw a quick inning like [the third inning], it let’s you know it’s the same game [as the regular season].” Ivan Nova
- “It’s not about one player, it’s about the whole team.” Robinson Cano, who seems to have learned the right things to say in interviews from Jeter.
- “We’re not going to take anything for granted, we want to come out and win tomorrow.” Cano on winning Game 1.
- “That’s something that’s not really on my mind. You have to give credit to Granderson… but my goal is to win it all.” Cano, on the MVP debate.
- “I really wanted to bounce the curveball, left it up a little.” Doug Fister, on the pitch to Gardner.
Luis Ayala: He got just one out in the ninth, giving up two hits, which led to two runs and an appearance by Mariano Rivera.
Alex Rodriguez: A-Rod was the Yankees only hitter to not pick up a hit. He was 0-5, though he did have a RBI. He struck out twice and left three runners on base.
Ivan Nova: Technically, it wasn’t a start, but the rookie had a great outing on Saturday. He went 6.1 innings and gave up just four hits and two runs. He struck out five batters, but did walk four.
Derek Jeter: The Captain went 2-5 with three runs scored, while reminding us how he can come up big in the postseason. He had a nice hit and run, but perhaps the highlight of the night for the Yankees’ shortstop was when the Tigers threatened in the top of the fifth and Jeter made a great relay throw to get Avila at the plate and keep the game tied at 1-1.
In The On Deck Circle:
The Yankees will try to keep the Tigers from tying the series, as they play an afternoon game on Sunday. Freddy Garcia will make the start for the Yankees, appearing in the playoffs for the first time since 2005. It is worth noting that he won all three starts he made in 2005, as the White Sox went on to win it all. Garcia had some rough outing in September, but ended on a high note as he held the Red Sox scoreless over six innings on September 24th. He gave up six hits and a walk in that game. Garcia threw against the Tigers once this season, picking up a loss after seven innings on May 4th. He gave up four runs on ten hits, two walks, an intentional walk and eight strikeouts. The Tigers will send Max Scherzer to the mound on Sunday afternoon. He ended the season with a 15-9 record, 4.43 ERA, 4.14 FIP and 3.70 xFIP. Scherzer took that win on May 4th, when he threw eight scoreless innings against the Yankees. It was a huge improvement over his first outing against the Yankees, at Yankee Stadium, when he gave up six runs on nine hits in five innings. First pitch is at 3pm in the Bronx.