Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez worked walks in the bottom of the inning, but Max Scherzer settled down and kept the Yankees batters guessing as the innings passed. Garcia also seemed to find his groove, scattering a couple hits, but holding the Tigers to their two first inning runs. That is, until the sixth inning.
Detroit put together a rally in the sixth inning as Austin Jackson reached when Derek Jeter’s throw bounced in the dirt and Mark Teixeira wasn’t able to pick it up. Ordonez followed with a single to left and Garcia struck out Young for the first inning. Cabrera continued to hurt the Yankees, knocking a single to center and scoring Jackson. Victor Martinez grounded a single up the middle and Don Kelly, who had replaced Ordonez on base, scored to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead and Garcia’s day was done. Boone Logan came out of the bullpen and balked, moving the runners over before striking Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta to end the inning.
Cano finally broke up the no-hitter in the bottom of the sixth, hitting a soft fly ball that dropped in left field. Unfortunately, the Yankees couldn’t turn it into a rally as Rodriguez continued to struggle at the plate and Teixeira lined out to end the inning.
The Yankees started to get to Scherzer in the seventh. Nick Swisher drew a walk and Jorge Posada grounded the ball up the middle, putting two on with no outs. Jim Leyland decided it was time to pull Scherzer, as he called on Joaquin Benoit. Russell Martin flew out for the first out of the inning and Eric Chavez pinch-hit for Brett Gardner. As rain started to pour down in the Bronx yet again, Jeter came to bat and struck out looking to end the inning.
Curtis Granderson finally put the Bombers on the board in the bottom of the eighth, as he drove a solo homer off Benoit to start the inning. Cano followed by striking out and Rodriguez and Teixeira both popped out to the infield, as the Yankees entered the final inning trailing 4-1.
In a move that had many Yankee fans scratching their heads, Luis Ayala took the mound in the top of the ninth. He promptly hit Brandon Inge with a pitch. Ramon Santiago bunted him over and Austin Jackson grounded out. Don Kelly then lined a single to center, plating Inge as the Tigers took a 5-1 lead.
Swisher took Jose Valverde deep on the first pitch of the inning, bringing Yankee Stadium to life. Jorge Posada followed with a triple to center – yes, you read Jorge Posada and triple in the same sentence. Martin worked a walk, putting runners on the corners for Andruw Jones who drove a sac fly to right for the first out of the inning. Jeter struck out and Granderson drew a walk, thanks in part to a wet on deck circle, which Avila slipped on, missing an easy foul pop up and giving Granderson new life. Cano had a chance to be the hero again, and he battled Valverde, fouling off a few pitches as the rain started to pour again in the Bronx. Unfortunately, it ended with him tapping a grounder to second base for an easy out, as Detroit took a 5-3 win and tied the game up as the ALDS heads to Motown.
Notes on Game 2:
- That was Posada’s first postseason triple, and his first this season. He did have one triple last season.
- Curtis Granderson became the first person to hit a homerun as a Yankee against the Tigers, and as a Tiger against the Yankees in the postseason.
- Apparently, Magglio Ordonez almost retired in the middle of the season…if only he had.
A Few Postgame Quotes:
- “We still got two more games in a row in a sense and we’re down three, if we got down to two we were gonna make a change. But being down three runs and, you know, with Valverde doing what he’s done all year long we decided to go to Ayala.” Joe Girardi – sounding like he’d conceded the game at that point?
- “I thought [A-Rod] swung that bat pretty good yesterday. Today, I mean, they made some tough pitches on him. You know I don’t have any plans on changing my lineup. It’s only two games, I’m not gonna make much of two games…You know, it’s the best of three now….Scherzer was really stingy…with all our guys.” Joe Girardi on moving A-Rod to DH or back in the lineup.
- “Gotta give credit to their pitcher, you know, he pitched great.” Andruw Jones on the loss.
- “In the first inning, I thought I had a good pitch, down and away, [Cabrera] made good contact. After that, shut it down…waiting for [us] to start hitting, but never happened, but that’s part of the game.” Freddy Garcia on his performance.
Luis Ayala: In one inning of work, Ayala gave up one run on one hit. He has not started the postseason particularly strong, to say the least.
Derek Jeter: The Captain went 0-5 with two Ks and five runners left on base. He struck out during the Yankees’ rally in the ninth and had a throwing error that started a big inning for the Tigers.
Mark Teixeira: Teix went 0-4 with a K and three runners left on base.
Curtis Granderson: Grandy went 1-4 with a solo homer that started the Yankees’ scoring. He also drew a walk when the Yankees rallied in the ninth, thanks in part to some luck on a foul pop fly.
Boone Logan: Logan entered the game in a tough spot and balked, but he turned it around by striking out both hitters he faced to end the inning.
Cory Wade: Wade threw two scoreless innings and gave up two hits and a walk.
In The On Deck Circle:
The series shifts to Detroit, where we will be treated to another attempt at the much hyped first matchup of CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander, who threw 27 and 25 pitches respectively, before Game 1 was postponed due to rain. Sabathia recorded one run on a solo homer in two innings of work Friday night. He struck out four. Sabathia held the Tigers to three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks way back on March 31st, while picking up seven Ks at the Stadium. Comerica Park has not always treated the Yankees’ ace well, however. He is 7-5 over fourteen starts in Detroit, with a 4.30 ERA. Verlander had a very strong 2011 season, ending strong when he went 9-0 with a 2.83 ERA over his last ten starts. Of those teams he faced, however, only Tampa Bay made the playoffs – and they just slipped in. On the season, Verlander was 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA, 250 Ks and just 57 walks. First pitch is at 8:37pm at Comerica Park.