Tigers square YanksJose Valverde and the Detroit Tigers nearly let this one slip away. Instead, they’re on solid footing with ace Justin Verlander set to start back home at Comerica Park.
NEW YORK (AP) — Jose Valverde and the Detroit Tigers nearly let this one slip away.
Instead, they’re on solid footing with ace Justin Verlander set to start back home at Comerica Park.
The Tigers and their excitable closer somehow held off the Yankees’ furious rain-soaked rally in the ninth inning and Detroit beat New York 5-3 on Sunday, evening their best-of-five AL playoff series at one game apiece.
Down 5-1, the Yankees scored twice in the ninth and had a chance to win it after Detroit catcher Alex Avila lost his balance on the slick on-deck circle while chasing Curtis Granderson’s two-out foul popup.
“It’s tough to win games here, especially in the playoffs,” Avila said. “You get what you can and get ready for the next game and that’s all you can think about.”
After his pop landed untouched, Granderson walked. With two on, Robinson Cano came to the plate.
With the crowd roaring, Cano hit a routine groundball to end it.
“All of a sudden, against anybody — but particularly against a team like them with the short porch in right field — it was not a good feeling,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “But it worked out OK.”
Tigers starter Max Scherzer pitched no-hit ball into the sixth before Cano blooped an opposite-field single to left.
Brewers seize 2-0 lead
MILWAUKEE — The biggest momentum swing for the Milwaukee Brewers involved no swing at all.
Jonathan Lucroy — “Mr. Squeeze” to his teammates — drove in the go-ahead run with a bunt and the Brewers broke away from the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-4 Sunday to take a 2-0 lead in their NL division series.
“It’s a free RBI if you execute and I really work hard to get that down,” Lucroy said. “A safety squeeze, all you’ve got to do is get it down to the right area.”
Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer and fellow slugger Prince Fielder added an RBI single for Milwaukee. But the brawny Brewers excel in other ways, especially Lucroy.
“The little things matter,” said Jerry Hairston Jr., who scored on Lucroy’s bunt. “When you have guys like Braunie and Prince with the big power, the little things add up.”
The Brewers now hold a 2-0 lead in a postseason series for the first time in franchise history and will go for the sweep when Shaun Marcum takes on rookie Josh Collmenter in Game 3 in Arizona on Tuesday.
Lucroy keyed a five-run sixth inning, and delivered right after Diamondbacks reliever Brad Ziegler became angry about a balk call. That’s when rookie Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke put on a play — he’d already seen Lucroy successfully bunt a few times this season.
“Good teams always take advantage of the other team’s mistakes,” Braun said. “There’s no doubt coming into that inning, they had the momentum.”
Cardinals rally against Lee and Phils
PHILADELPHIA — John Jay knocked Carlos Ruiz backward with a hard forearm shiver, then the St. Louis Cardinals flipped this series around.
Albert Pujols hit a go-ahead single in the seventh inning after Cliff Lee blew a four-run lead, and the Cardinals rallied past the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 Sunday night to even their NL playoff matchup at one game each.
The NLDS shifts to St. Louis for Game 3 on Tuesday. Cole Hamels will be the third straight All-Star pitcher to face the Cardinals, who’ll send Jaime Garcia to the mound.