DETROIT (AP) – Detroit’s ace pitcher Justin Verlander struck out 11 batters over eight gritty innings to guide the Tigers to a 5-4 win over the New York Yankees on Monday, giving them a 2-1 lead in their best-of-fi ve American League Division Series.
Detroit closer Jose Valverde closed it out, striking out Derek Jeter with two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Delmon Young hit the tiebreaking homer for the Tigers, pushing New York to the brink of postseason elimination. The Yankees must win Game 4 in Detroit on Tuesday, when pitcher A.J. Burnett’s shaky season will encounter its greatest test, against Detroit’s Rick Porcello.
Verlander and New York ace C.C. Sabathia were back on the mound Monday after their series-opening matchup at Yankee Stadium was halted by rain after only 1½ innings.
Verlander, who led the AL in wins, ERA and strikeouts, had a shaky start. Jeter hit Verlander’s first pitch right back up the middle for a single, then Curtis Granderson’s drive sailed over the head of Austin Jackson in left-center for an RBI triple. Alex Rodriguez made it 2-0 to the Yankees with an RBI groundout.
However Sabathia had even more problems, walking four of the first six hitters he faced, but Detroit grounded into double plays in each of the first two innings and didn’t score.
Rangers 4, Rays 3 In St. Petersburg, Florida, Texas survived a shaky performance from the bullpen and beat Tampa Bay and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five AL Division Series.
Colby Lewis outpitched All-Star David Price and Mike Napoli hit a go-ahead two-run homer for Texas, which has won four straight division series road games.
Rookie Desmond Jennings hit a pair of solo homers for the Rays, who kept it interesting by scoring twice off Rangers relievers before Texas closer Neftali Feliz got four outs to end it and set up a big Game 4 at Tropicana Field on Tuesday.
The contest finished when Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre, playing deep and guarding the line to prevent a double, started a double play on Kelly Shoppach’s grounder.
Price, who was the losing pitcher in two of Tampa Bay’s playoff losses in 2010, is still yet to win a game against the Rangers in his career despite taking a 1-0 lead into the seventh, thanks to Jennings’ fourth-inning homer.
Beltre singled leading off the seventh against Price and took second a wild pitch. A crowd of 32,828 — the fi rst sellout at Tropicana Field.