Tigers edge Yankees to level playoff series
Oct 2, 2011, 4:23 p.m.
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 5-3 behind the masterful pitching of Max Scherzer and the hitting of Miguel Cabrera to level their best-of-five divisional playoff series at 1-1 Sunday.
A last-ditch New York rally fell short, as Game One hero Robinson Cano grounded out with men on first and second to end the threat.
The right-handed Scherzer held the Yankees hitless until one out in the sixth when Robinson Cano blooped a single to left, and registered the win in his postseason debut.
Miguel Cabrera stroked a two-run homer in the first inning and singled home another run in a two-run sixth off New York's soft-throwing veteran Freddy Garcia, cashing in on opportunities provided by Magglio Ordonez, who had three hits.
Scherzer, who was 15-9 this season with an earned run average of 4.43, left after putting the first two men on in the seventh inning.
Dark clouds moved in and it started raining again in the Bronx, where Friday's opening game was washed out in the second inning and resumed Saturday.
But the teams played through the flash shower and reliever Joaquin Benoit stamped out the Yankees rally by getting Russell Martin to fly out to right and striking out pinch-hitter Eric Chavez and Derek Jeter.
Former Tiger Curtis Granderson, who came to New York in a three-way trade that brought Scherzer to Detroit from Arizona, homered in the eighth inning off Benoit to make it 4-1.
Detroit padded their lead with a run in the ninth but the Yankees tallied in the bottom half off closer Jose Valverde on a home run by Nick Swisher and a sacrifice fly from Andruw Jones, but with men on first and second and two out Valverde retired Cano on a grounder to second to end the game.
Scherzer went six innings plus two batters, giving up just two hits, walking four and striking out five.
The series shifts to Detroit for Game Three Monday, with Justin Verlander (24-5) starting for the Tigers against New York's CC Sabathia (19-8).
(Editing by Frank Pingue)