By RICKY LINDSAY, Staff Writer
After a memorable Game Five performance by Justin Verlander to defeat the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS, the Detroit Tigers advanced to their second consecutive American League Championship Series.
The New York Yankees also relied on their ace, C.C. Sabathia, to advance to the ALCS, defeating the Baltimore Orioles in Game 5 in the Bronx. Sabathia threw a four-hitter to stymie the Orioles hitters, setting up a date with the Tigers the very next day.
The 2012 ALCS opened up this past Saturday in New York, as the Tigers sent Doug Fister to oppose Yankees starter Andy Pettitte in Game One.
Fister did exactly what was needed, throwing six and a third scoreless innings while striking out five. Pettitte pitched well for the Yankees, throwing six and two-thirds innings while allowing only two runs.
Closer Jose Valverde continued his 2012 postseason struggles, giving up a seemingly comfortable 4-0 lead when Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez each hit two run home runs to send the game into extra innings.
Delmon Young continued his strong postseason in a Tigers uniform. He went 3-6 with three RBI‘s, including the go-ahead home run in the top of the twelfth inning. The Tigers eventually managed to overcome Valverde’s blown save to take Game 1, 6-4 in extra innings.
In Game 2, Tigers’ starter Anibal Sanchez was locked in a pitching duel against Yankee, Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda pitched well, throwing seven and two-thirds innings while allowing three runs and striking out 11. He also threw five perfect innings before giving up a single to Peralta in the top of the sixth inning.
Sanchez dominated the Yankee’s lineup, throwing scoreless seven innings, striking out seven, and allowing only three hits. With his performance Sunday, Sanchez became the fifth pitcher in Tigers history to thrown seven or more innings while allowing only three or fewer hits in a postseason game.
Miguel Cabrera went 2-4 with an RBI. Cabrera and Sanchez helped lead the Tigers to a 3-0 shutout victory in Game 2.
The Tigers starting rotation in the postseason has reached a 0.94 ERA (Earned Run Average), a team record, and with another 11 1/3 innings, the Tigers can have the MLB record without allowing any runs to score.
The Tigers’ starters have a 22.1 inning scoreless streak in the postseason, the longest since the Oakland Athletics in 1974 when they had 29 IP scoreless, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The ALCS now shifts to Detroit, with the Tigers leading the series 2-0 over the Yankees. Tigers ace Verlander takes the mound to oppose Yankees’ starter Phil Hughes in Game 3, which can be seen on TBS at 8:00pm.