Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) high fives first baseman Prince Fielder (right) after the 7th inning of game three of the 2012 ALCS against the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. (William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE)
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Phil Coke finished off Justin Verlander's
masterpiece in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, as the
Detroit Tigers put themselves on the verge of a World Series berth with
another close win, 2-1, over the New York Yankees.
A solo homer by Delmon Young and an RBI double by Triple Crown winner Miguel
Cabrera was all the offense the Tigers needed with their ace on the hill.
Over the first eight frames, Verlander (3-0) yielded just a pair of singles to
Ichiro Suzuki. Eduardo Nunez ended the right-hander's string of 23 straight
scoreless innings with a leadoff homer in the ninth, and Verlander was pulled
after retiring Brett Gardner on a groundout.
Coke put the go-ahead run on base before fanning the red-hot Raul Ibanez to
earn his second straight save, moving the Tigers one win away from their first
trip to the Fall Classic since 2006.
Not even a lineup change by manager Joe Girardi, who has seemingly pressed all
the right buttons this postseason, could revive New York's suddenly punchless
Alex Rodriguez, a three-time league MVP, was benched for the second time in
four games for Eric Chavez, while the struggling Nick Swisher was replaced by
Gardner. Chavez went 0-for-3 and Gardner, in his first start since Apr.
17, also went hitless out of the leadoff spot.
Girardi used five relievers after starter Phil Hughes (0-1) exited early due
to back stiffness with no outs in the fourth inning.
The Yankees will turn to CC Sabathia on Wednesday, while Detroit's Max
Scherzer will look to finish off the sweep. Sabathia has won seven of his
eight postseason decisions with New York, but Scherzer is 3-1 in four career
starts against the Bronx Bombers.
The Sports Network