NEW YORK (AP) — Anibal Sanchez and the Detroit Tigers made the plays, got a favorable call from an umpire and took advantage of their few chances at the plate.
The reward: a commanding lead in the AL championship series, and a trip home with their ace ready to start.
Sanchez shut down a Yankees lineup minus injured Derek Jeter, and Detroit won without any drama, beating New York 3-0 Sunday for a 2-0 cushion.
Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda pitched perfect ball into the sixth inning. But the slumping New York hitters looked lost a day after their captain broke his ankle in the 12th inning of a 6-4 loss.
Making his second postseason start, Sanchez pitched three-hit ball deep into the game to make Tigers manager Jim Leyland’s handling of a bullpen without struggling closer Jose Valverde a lot easier.
The Tigers scored twice in the eighth after second base umpire Jeff Nelson missed a call on a two-out tag at second base. Yankees manager Joe Girardi argued, and was ejected on his 48th birthday.
Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night in Detroit, with reigning AL MVP Justin Verlander starting for the Tigers against Phil Hughes. Verlander went 2-0 in the division series versus Oakland, including a four-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts in the decisive Game 5.
The Tigers led 1-0 in the eighth and had Omar Infante on first with two outs. Austin Jackson singled and when Infante took a wide turn at second, right fielder Nick Swisher threw behind him.
Robinson Cano made a swipe tag as Infante made a head-first dive back to second. Cano missed Infante’s arm but brushed his body, replays clearly showed. But Nelson called Infante safe.
Cano and Girardi pleaded the call to no avail. Boone Logan replaced Kuroda and gave up an RBI single to pinch hitter Avisail Garcia to make it 2-0.
Girardi returned to lift Logan for Joba Chamberlain, and then he remained on the field to resume the argument. Red-faced with neck muscles bulging, Girardi could be seen shouting at Nelson, “You were right there. How could you miss it?” He was tossed by Nelson for his first postseason ejection.
Miguel Cabrera added a run-scoring single in the inning.
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