A dominant Detroit Tigers team sweeps the New York Yankees to advance to the World Series.
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Scherzer took a no-hitter into the 6th. He received credit for the win, tossing 5 2/3 innings, allowing only 2 hits and 1 run. Drew Smyly, Octavio Dotel and Coke combined to pitch 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief. CC Sabathia was knocked out of the game after 3 2/3 innings, allowing 6 runs and 11 hits, taking the loss.
Delmon Young was voted ALCS MVP.
Top of 1, Max Scherzer sets the Yankees down in order. Ichiro pops pout to Miguel Cabrera on 3-2 pitch for the 1st out, Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano strike out swinging. The extra day of rest did not hurt Mr. Heterochromia.
Best thing about the inning was Scherzer's fastball hitting 95 MPH. His last few starts it took him several batters to reach that velocity. Worst ting was Ichiro and Swisher fouling off several pitches, forcing a 19 pitch inning. The bullpen is on alert.
After Austin Jackson popped to 2nd, Omar Infante had the first hit of the game on a standard issue ground ball to 3rd. Eric Chavez took a step back, nonchalanted the throw, while Infante hustled down the line to beat the throw.
Cabrera got a fastball to hit from Sabathia, but got under it, sending a fly to left. Going with the pitch, Fielder lining a single to left center, Infante aggressively advanced to 3rd on a ball hit in front of him.
This being the post season version of Delmon Young, well, he still swings at the first pitch. But the post season Young is far more productive than the regular season version, this version dropping an opposite field liner in front of Swisher for an RBI single. Infante walked home, Fielder stopped at 2nd and the Tigers had a 1-0 lead.
Sabathia struck out Jhonny Peralta to get out of further trouble. But the Tigers nicked the Yankee's ace for 3 hits, a run and forced a 23 pitch inning.
Scherzer followed up a langhty 1st inning with a more efficient 2nd, needing only 11 pitches to set the Yankees down in order, including strikeouts of Raul Ibanez and Chavez.
Andy Dirks led off the bottom of the 2nd with a hard single to center. But playing for just 1 run, Jim Leyland may have stopped a rally in its tracks, asking Avisail Garcia to sacrifice. The bunt was a lousy one, popped into the air. Mark Teixeira plucked it on the first bounce. Dirks, who had to freeze, waiting to see if the bunt would drop, was a dead duck at 2nd. Garcia stood at the plate, watching the play unfold, but managed to beat out the botched play, regardless.
With 2 down and Jackson at the plate, Garcia put himself into scoring position by swiping 2nd base. With 1st base open, Jackson worked a base on balls. Infante wasn't able to capitalize on the stolen base, squibbing a grounder to 1st to end the inning.
Top of 3 and 1 out, Infante robbed a single off the bat of Brett Gardner, going behind 2nd to make an off balance but on target throw. The inning was extended when Fielder's failed to handle a soft, spinning ground ball, the E-3 allowing Eduardo Nunez to reach safely.
The error cost Scherzer several extra pitches and set up a Yankees threat. After Nunez stole 2nd, Ichiro walked on a 3-2 pitch. Scherzer pitched out of a jam not of his own doing by striking out Swisher for the 2nd time.
Leading off the 3rd, Cabrera had another good swing, but could only send a fly ball just short of the warning track in right. Fielder's counterpart, Teixeira, tried to ol'e a short hop, but failed miserably, the ball glancing off his glove for a single (though it should have been E-3).
Young continued playing like a completely different person, working a 3-2 count, then walking. Peralta just missed going yard, sending a warning track fly to left (on what didn't look like a good swing, yet the ball carried) for the 2nd out.
Teixeira kept the inning alive, unable to handle Dirk's one-hopper, loading the bases for the rookie, Garcia.
Once again, Garcia didn't hit the ball hard, but in the right place. Sabathia couldn't flag down a high hopping come-backer, Fielder scoring as Garcia beat out an RBI infield single. The Tigers were now up 2-0 on the Yankees' ace.
Gerald Laird hit a can of corn to right, ending the inning. But the Tigers sent 7 batters to the plate, tacking on 2 more hits while Sabathia's pitch count rocketed to 73.
Scherzer remained light out in the 4th, setting the Yankees down in order. Teixeira and Ibanez went down swinging, strikeouts 6 and 7 for Scherzer on the day.
Bottom of 4, the Yankees were teetering on the brink. The Tigers proceeded to push them, and Sabathia, over the playoff edge.
Continuing a solid playoff performance, Infante singled with 1 out. Cabrera had just missed going yard in his first 2 at bats. He didn't miss a third time. Sabathia served up a 91 MPH meatball over the fat part of the plate, Cabrera sending it to the fans halfway up the left field stands for a no-doubt 2 run bomb, and a 4-0 lead.
As the Yankees' brain trust was on the bullpen horn, Sabathia struck out Fielder. But Young, suddenly disciplined at the plate, singled on a full count. Peralta followed by first pitch swinging...but at a hanging breaking ball. All Ichiro could do was watch the ball fly over his head into the hands of an ecstatic crowd in the left field stands for the second 2 run home run of the inning.
Dirks followed the extra base hit parade with gapper to left center. As he reached 2nd with a stand up double, Joe Girardi was already out of the dugout to pull his ace.
Cody Eppley ended the carnage when Garcia grounded out. But the Tigers were up 6-0 and only 5 innings away from ending the ALCS.
Scherzer kept pounding the strike zone in the 5th. Chavez and Russell Martin stru8ck out, numbers 8 and 9 on the afternoon. Gardner sent a soft fly to Jackson to end the inning.
Bottom of 5, the Tigers kept Yankees' pitching on their heels. Jackson singled after 1 was down. Infante drilled a liner, but right at Gardnet in center. With chants of "M-V-P" rocking Comerica, Cabrera lined a single off the glove of a leaping Nunez, ending Eppley's day.
Girardi called on his fourth arm of the day, Clay Rapada, in order to face Fielder. It was one of the few moves which worked for the Yankees, Fielder ending the inning on a fielder's choice.
Scherzer had a no-hitter through 5 innings. He had a 1 hitter only 1 batter into the 6th, Nunez tripling past Jackson in left center. The tigers' center fielder needed a monumental effort to even get near the ball, but couldn't come make what would have been a highlight reel catch.
One out later, the shutout over over as well. Swisher doubled off the scoreboard in right to bring home Nunez. Octavio Dotel and Drew Smyly were warming up as Teixeira walked with a runner on 3rd and 2 down.
A pitch count at 96 and the Yankees starting to hit the ball, Jim Leyland had seen enough. The call went out to Drew Smyly to face Ibanez, Scherzer leaving to a standing ovation.
Girardi countered by pinch hitting Alex Rodriguez for Ibanez. Smyly wasn't intimidated by the $275 MM man, blowing a fastball past A-Rod for strike 2. The next pitch ended up a can of corn to Jackson, infuriating Yankees fans, ending the rally and avoiding a crooked number.
Bottom of 6, Joba Chamberlain pitching, Young was finally retired on a fly ball after reaching base in his first 3 at bats. With 2 down, Dirks singled, the fourth straight at bat he reached base.
Garcia followed by clubbing his first extra base hit, a high fly ball double to deep right center. It ball landed on the wanring track and took a 45 degree bounce into the seats at the 365 mark. Doing so cost the Tigers a run, Dirks was stopped at 3rd on the ground rule double.
Laird hit a hard come-backer up the middle, but Chamberlain likely saved a run by sticking his leg out and knocking the ball down, recording the 1-3 ground out.
Leading off the 7th, right -hand hitting Jayson Nix was announced as a pinch hitter for Chavez. When the move was made official, Leyland played the left-right percentages by replacing Smyly with Dotel.
Once Dotel walked Nix, slumping Curtis Granderson pinch hit for Martin. Dotel struck out the ex-Tiger on 3 pitches. Gardner struck out swinging on a high breaking ball for the 2nd out. There would be no late game heroics from Nunez, sending a fly ball to Jackson for the 3rd out.
Girardi emptying his bullpen, Derek Lowe took the mound in the bottom of the 7th. He was rudely greeted by Jackson. Ahead in the count 1-0, Jackson turned on a low breaking ball for a solo home run, the Tiger's 3rd no-doubt blast into the left field seats. The insurance run extended the Tigers' lead to 7-1.
Top of 8, 6 outs to a World Series and top the heavily left-handed Yankees' order due up.
Time for a resurgent Phil Coke, only available due to Wednesday's rain out.
Coke knocked down Ichiro's come-backer, out 1-3.
5 outs to go.
The "Phil Coke Finger Point" made an appearance as Swisher flew out to Jackson in deep left center.
4 outs to go.
Cano hit a hard one hopper toward the right side hole, but Fielder made a great back-hand stop off the in-between hop, firing a strike to Coke covering the bag to end of the inning in spectacular fashion.
3 outs to go.
The Comerica Park crowd on their feet and on the verge of exploding, Peralta homered for the second time, a line shot into the bullpen. The Tigers now held an insurmountable 8-1 lead.
Somewhat surprisingly, considering a 7 run lead should be Jose Valverde-proof, Coke took the mound in the top of the 9th needing 3 outs to send the Tigers to their 11th World Series in team history
With Valverde and Joaquin Benoit warming up, Teixeira hit a soft liner to Peralta.
2 outs to go.
A-Rod grounded out to Peralta, 6-3.
1 out to go.
The count 1-1, the crowd chanting "SWEEP-SWEEP-SWEEP," Nix popped up a Coke fastball. We got an epic "Phil Coke Finger Point" as Fielder snagged the ball out of the air for the final out.
DETROIT TIGERS, AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONS!
7 months ago the Tigers were weighed down with out-of-control expectations, a team which was going to stroll damn near uncontested to the AL Central title. 3 months later the Tigers were considered the most overrated and disappointing team in baseball. 6 weeks ago, rumors swirled Jim Leyland needed to make the playoffs in order to save his job. A mere 4 weeks ago the Tigers were reeling, 3 games back of the Chicago White Sox, the playoffs seemingly out of reach. 6 games ago, the Oakland Athletics walked off in soul-crushing fashion to stretch the ALDS to a 5th game, the Tigers again appeared to be in deep trouble. 4 games ago, the Tigers had all but given away game 1 of the ALCS to the the Yankees, unable to hold on to a 4 run lead.
Today the resilient beyond belief Tigers are the champions of the American League after sweeping the Evil Empire.
I dare you to find a more fun, crazy, intense and just plain all-around bizarre season in Detroit Tigers' history.
You won't find one.
Bullets are brought yo you by the New York City media circus.
- The Tigers' next game will be next Wednesday night in game 1 of the World Series. They have made it to the World Series 10 times previously, winning in 1935, 1945, 1968 and 1984.
- The player whose signing kick started the Tigers' revival as an America League force, Pudge Rodriguez, received ALCS game 4 first pitch honors.
- Credit the first run of the game to Omar Infante's aggressive base running. He beat out a standard ground ball to 3rd for an infield single, then took 3rd on a ball hit in front of him. .
- I have 2 pieces of advice for the Tigers. First, with the Yankees on the ropes, Don't bunt in the 2ND DAMN INNING. Second, I'd like to remind Avisail Garcia you need to RUN after you lay down a bunt, even if it's a bad one.
- Prince Fielder should forget wearing a glove and just drop to his knees and act like a brick wall.
- While Justin Verlander was being interviewed in the bottom of the 3rd and a full count on Delmon Young, he tried to call Delmon's shot with a "Homer!". Young fouled the pitch off, but ended up walking.
- In a segment full of comedy gold, Verlander remained on mike with the TBS booth all through the inning, refusing to give it up, wanting to keep his streak of the Tigers scoring while being interviewed alive. When Garcia knocked in a run, Verlander yelled, "My work is done here!" and ditched the headset.
- Young had back to back full count at bats in the 3rd and 4th innings. I'm expecting
CuthluCthulhu to to appear at any time.
- Sabathia's line: 3 2/3 innings, 6 runs, 5 earned, 11 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 2 home runs.
- Max Scherzer allowing a hit in the 6th took pressure off Leyand in one big way. He didn't have to make a decision about leaving Scherzer in the game with a no-no on the line. Being he was limited to a pitch count around 100, it wasn't likely to happen anyway.
- Pulling Scherzer was also the right move to make. No reason to stretch out Scherzer any further with a completely rested bullpen.
- Scherzer's line: 5 2/3, 2 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts.
- Tigers' starters during the 2012 postseason: 61 2/3 innings, 66 strikeouts, 1.02 ERA.
- With left-handed Drew Smyly on the mound, Alex Rodriguez entered the game as a pinch hitter for Raul Ibanez in the 6th. Odd, considering Joe Girardi didn't make the same move in the 9th inning of game 3 with left-handed Phil Coke pitching.
- With 16 hits, the Tigers broke their previous post season record of 15.
- Stat via CBS Sports' Danny Knobler: Though it's been done 4 times in a World Series, the Tigers are the first team in MLB history to sweep a best of 7 league championship series and never trail.
- Delmon Young drove in as many runs (6) as the Yankees scored in the 4 game series.
- Sage advice from Jim Leyland: "Don't drink and drive...including me!"
Craig Sager's sports coat is made from the same material as the seat covers in a 1975 Gremlin.
Scherzer's 2nd pitch is well behind Ichiro.
Tigers fans, please, please, please don't "Bartman" your team. (I realize the Cubs didn't lose their infamous playoff game because of Steve Bartman, but it's the best way to describe what these fans did)
Jim Leyland warming his cold, cold...hands.
The EPIC game closing "Phil Coke Finger Point."
Max Scherzer: Out-pitched the Yankees' ace, added 10 punch outs.
Phil Coke: Coke has pitched in 7 post season games. His ERA is 0.00.
Jhonny Peralta: 2 home runs, 3 RBI and flawless defense.
Octavio Dotel: His scoreless inning was the bridge to Coke. Never thought I'd write the Tigers needed to find a bridge to Phil Coke!
Andy Dirks: Reached base 4 times in a 3-5 night.
Austin Jackson: Reached base 3 times, including a home run.
Miguel Cabrera: His home run broke the Yankees' back, giving the Tigers a 4-0 lead.
Delmon Young: 2 hits, reached base 3 times, voted ALCS MVP. If he could only hit like this before October...
Anyone in the media who writes the Yankees lost the series instead of the Tigers winning it.
ALCS GAME 3 PLAYER OF THE GAME:
The Tigers' dominant starting pitching has been dominating the post season and BYB's PotG voting. Game 3 was no different, thanks to Justin Verlander's 8 1/3 innings of 1 run ball. The Tigers' ace nearly pitched a shutout against the Yankees and in the BYB poll, taking 81% of the vote.
ALCS Game 4 PotG
Max Scherzer (274 votes)
Phil Coke (65 votes)
Jhonny Peralta (139 votes)
478 total votes