The Detroit Tigers made it two in a row against the Yankees, taking game three and pushing New York to the brink of elimination. The Tigers were driven to victory by American Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander as well as midseason acquisition Delmon Young.
The Yankees were able to get to Verlander early, putting up a pair of runs on two hits in the 1st. But, after his shaky first frame, Verlander settled in. The right-hander held New York to three hits, all singles, over the next five innings.
Verlander’s dominance inspired the Tigers offense, who erased their deficit and mounted a two run lead of their own.
Game three went back to even in the 7th, when Brett Gardner’s double scored Jorge Posada and Russell Martin. However, the tie wouldn’t last long, as Young launched his second home run of the series to put the Tigers up for good. Including last night’s 2-3 effort, Young is now 4-12 with a 1.218 OPS this series.
Verlander maintained Detroit’s advantage with his scoreless 8th inning. Having reached 120 pitches, Verlander’s night was finished. The AL pitching Triple Crown winner put the Tigers in position to win, allowing four runs on six hits and 11 strikeouts over his eight innings of work.
With the Tigers lead at one, the club once again called on closer Jose Valverde to finish the game. Just as he had done Sunday, Valverde made things more interesting than Detroit or their home crown would have liked.
Valverde again struggled with his command. The closer only threw seven of his 19 pitches for strikes, resulting in a pair of walks. Valverde collected the first out of the inning before offering a free pass to Posada. The Yankees pinch-ran for the veteran, and Eduardo Nunez went on to steal second.
Two batters came to the plate with the tying run in scoring position. Neither delivered, as Yankee Captain Derek Jeter struck out to end the game.
The Tigers now hold a 2-1 series advantage and will look to close things out tonight against A.J. Burnett and the Yankees in game four.