The Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 6-4 in game one of the AL Championship Series to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
New York's offense was put into a trance by Doug Fister and all Tigers pitchers not named Jose Valverde. Against the non-Valverde pitchers, the Yankees didn't score a run, and got just eight hits (including two doubles). The team had plenty of chances to score, but cashed in just twice after two-run homers by Ichiro and Raul Ibanez in the ninth off of Valverde tied the game. Just think – the Yankees nearly won this game despite the Tigers pitchers taking them to the woodshed for the better part of 12 innings.
The Yankee pitching staff wasn't on point after a grueling series with the Orioles, and the Tigers were able to take advantage of that. They got two runs in the sixth off of Andy Pettitte after back to back RBI singles from Prince Fielder and Delmon Young. In the eighth, they got two more runs that were changed to Derek Lowe after a solo homer by Young and an RBI single by rookie Avisail Garcia, scoring Jhonny Peralta.
In the ninth though, Yankee magic struck again. Raul Ibanez has to be approaching superhero status, and Ichiro is looking like the answer to Nick Swisher since coming to the Bronx.
Extra innings plowed on, and the Yankees did nothing against Octavio Dotel and Drew Smyly, totaling just one hit and one walk over their 3 1/3 innings against the two pitchers. After a walk with one out in the tenth by Curtis Granderson against Dotel, Joe Girardi sent Brett Gardner in to pinch run, and Gardner stole both second and third before being stranded to end the inning. In the eleventh, Ichiro led off with a single, and didn't move from the base all inning.
The 12th inning was the deal-breaker for the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera led off with a walk, moved up to second on a Fielder groundout, and scored on a double by – who else? – Young. During Jhonny Peralta's at bat, the unthinkable happened – Jeter broke his ankle fielding Peralta's ground ball. His postseason is done, and the hopes and dreams of the Yankees are going down the tubes with him. An Andy Dirks infield single scored Don Kelly [inch running for Young), and Smyly set the Yankees down with a 1-2-3 12th to seal the game.
Jeter's injury is huge for this club, but I think that goes without saying. He's the heart and soul of this club, and they become a much worse team with Eduardo Nunez or Jayson Nix starting at short with him out. While the Yankees did have an immediate replacement for Mariano Rivera when he got hurt back in May, they had immediate replacements in the pen in David Robertson and Rafael Soriano. There's no immediate replacement for Jeter, and that may doom New York.
Game two in this series will be on Sunday. First pitch is set for 4:00, and Anibal Sanchez will start for the Tigers against Hiroki Kuroda of the Yankees. If the Yankees lose this game, you have to wonder if Girardi will throw CC Sabathia against Justin Verlander down 0-2. With the way Verlander pitched in the ALDS against the A's, there's no way that he's going to lose. Being down 3-0 on the road isn't a situation any team wants to be in, especially a team that has had two franchise icons get hurt in the same season.