Burnett pitched a quick 1-2-3 second inning and the Yankees rallied in the top of the third. Jorge Posada was the Yankees first base runner, when he was hit by a pitch. Russell Martin got the first hit of the night, singling a grounder up the middle. Brett Gardner fouled off a bunt before striking out, but Derek Jeter came through, doubling to center as Posada scored and Martin just beat the tag at the plate to give the Yankees an early 2-0 lead.
The Tigers rallied in the bottom of the fourth. Martinez started the inning with a solo homer. Burnett got Don Kelly to ground out, but Jhonny Peralta followed with a double down the left field line. Burnett, however, responded with back-to-back strikeouts and the Yankees held a 2-1 edge over Detroit.
New York wasted little time in extending their lead in the top of the fifth. Martin led off with a single to center and Gardner followed with a line drive to left. Jeter bunted back to Rick Porcello, who got the ball to Wilson Betemit at third for the lead runner. Granderson then lined a double to right, plating Gardner. Robinson Cano was intentionally walked and Rodriguez hit a sac fly to center, bringing Jeter home for a 4-1 lead.
The Bombers broke the game open in the eighth, as former Yankee Phil Coke was on the mound. Rodriguez lined a single to center for his first hit of the playoffs. Mark Teixeira followed with a dribbler down the third baseline and Nick Swisher grounded a single past Betemit to load the bases. Jim Leyland called on Al Alburquerque to stop the bleeding, while Joe Girardi tapped Jesus Montero to take his first postseason swings, pinch hitting for Posada. A balk brought Rodriguez home and Montero followed with a nice single to left, plating Teixeira. Martin worked a walk and Gardner singled to center, plating another New York run with Detroit still searching for an out. Jeter struck out, but a wild pitch by Tigers’ pitcher Daniel Schlereth allowed Montero to score. Granderson struck out, but Cano extended the inning with a RBI single to left. Rodriguez hit another single, but Teixeira’s long fly ball ended the monster inning for the Yankees, who now held a comfortable 10-1 lead. Phil Hughes and Boone Logan each came in and pitched 1-2-3 innings to hold onto the win, as the Tigers and Yankees head back to the Bronx.
Notes on Game 4:
- Before his eighth inning hit, Nick Swisher was 0-for-28 with RISP in the postseason, which was the longest postseason streak in MLB history.
- A-Rod has sole possession of tenth place on the All-Time Postseason RBIs list with 41.
- Al Alburquerque’s balk was the fourth of the postseason, which is second to the 1988 postseason when there were six balks.
- This was the first time the Yankees have scored ten runs in an ALDS game.
- Mickey Mantle is only Yankees with a postseason multihit game at a younger age than Jesus Montero, who is a couple months shy of 22.
A Few Postgame Quotes:
- “I was a little bit out of position because I’m playing the odds of where I thought he was going to hit it – Gardner was out of position too, but it kept carrying and I was able to extend and get it.” Curtis Granderson on his 6th inning catch.
- “I was thrilled for him, but I was thrilled for us to. What he did…a great performance, struggled a bit in the first inning, but really settled in…In a must win situation for us, he pitched one of his best games of the year.” Joe Girardi on A.J. Burnett
- “A lot of time starters – getting that first inning is the hardest part.” Girardi on having someone warming in the pen in the first inning.
- “He’s made plays like that all year…we don’t win tonight without defense….I think our defense was huge.” A.J. Burnett on Curtis Granderson’s first inning catch.
- “I can’t let walks bother me, not now, not this late in the playoffs…It was a little nerve-wracking at first, I had been out there in a while…It was nice to get that last out, even if it was a diving catch….I knew I was overthrowing, but you can’t think about it, cause that’s when it goes south.” Burnett on his first inning.
This is one of those games where it is hard to find anything to complain about. Still, I try…
Mark Teixeira: Teix went 1-4 with a run scored. His hit was a little dribbler, but sometimes that’s all you need to get out of a slump.
Jorge Posada: Jorge was the only Yankee starter to go hitless. He was 0-2 with a run scored and a strikeout.
A.J. Burnett: After a shaky first inning, Burnett seemed to get a nice rhythm and gave the Yankees a great opportunity to get the series back to the Bronx. He went 5.2 innings and gave up one run on four hits and four walks. He also had three Ks and kept Detroit to 0-7 with runners in scoring position.
Curtis Granderson: Grandy made two crucial catches (granted he made the first inning catch a bit harder for himself by running in first). His sixth inning catch was one of the best catches I’ve seen in a while. If you haven’t seen them, watch them. In fact, even if you have seen them, it is worth watching again. He went 1-5 with a double and a RBI.
Russell Martin: Also went 2-4 with two runs scored and a walk. He also had his work cut out for him behind the plate with A.J. on the mound.
Jesus Montero: Montero got his first taste of October when he pinch-hit for Jorge in the eighth. He went 2-2 with a pair of singles, an RBI and a run scored.
Bullpen: The pen finished what A.J. started. Rafael Soriano, Phil Hughes and Boone Logan combined to pitch 3.1 innings of scoreless, hitless, walkless baseball. Soriano had one K, Hughes had two and Logan struck out the side in the ninth.
In The On Deck Circle:
The ALDS heads back to New York, where the Yankees will try to take the series from Detroit. Ivan Nova will get the ball for the Bombers, hoping to improve on his strong showing in the second part of Game One. Joe Girardi has said that he expects CC Sabathia to be available in Game Five if he is needed. Doug Fister will toe the rubber for the Tigers. He was cruising against the Yankees on Saturday, retiring eleven in a row before the Yankees knocked him for six runs on seven hits. First pitch is at 8:07pm on Thursday.