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 2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS

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PostSubject: Re: 2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS - Page 8 Icon_minitimeThu Oct 11, 2012 2:55 am

Valverde, Tigers stunned by A's in ninth
Closer gives up three runs, setting stage for decisive Game 5

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/11/2012 4:25 AM ET

BOX>

OAKLAND -- The Tigers stood three outs away from a return to the American League Championship Series. All the ups and downs of the season, all the times they seemed out of it, were three outs away from character building.

Now, they'll need nine more innings, many of them from Justin Verlander, before a raucous A's crowd to get there. As tough as these last two nights have been for them, they probably haven't seen anything yet.

"Yeah, well, it's baseball," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after a three-run A's rally off Jose Valverde in the ninth inning sent the Tigers to a 4-3 loss Wednesday night. "I mean, that's why this is the greatest game of all. It looked like we were going to get it. We didn't do it. We didn't quite get the 27 outs, that's part of the game."

As a result, their AL Division Series is headed to a Game 5 on Thursday night. It's the situation they coveted coming into the series, a winner-take-all matchup with the reigning American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner on the mound. The setup, however, is nothing like what they could have anticipated.

"We're in a one-game playoff right now and anything can happen," said Max Scherzer, whose five-plus innings Wednesday night set the Tigers up to close it out in Game 4. "Granted, we have our best pitcher going tomorrow, so obviously we like where we sit, but this is a hostile place right now."

If Leyland's long-held theory holds that momentum is only as good as the next day's starting pitcher, the Tigers should feel confident. Yet after a Game 4 rally off their closer, it's hard not to feel some momentum on Oakland's side.

"Yeah, they're pressing," A's outfielder Josh Reddick said, "but they know they've got their best pitcher on the mound. It's going to be an interesting game, and we know we've got to battle and they know they've got to battle because he threw a heck of a game over there."

What had been eight stingy innings from Tigers pitchers, including five dominant ones from Scherzer, went to waste within a three-batter span in the ninth inning. The last of them, Seth Smith's two-run double, tied the game before Coco Crisp's walk-off single sent the Tigers to their second loss in as many nights.

It came together so quickly that there was hardly time to react. By the time Crisp's ground ball through the right side crept under the glove of charging right fielder Avisail Garcia, allowing Smith to dash home unchallenged, it was almost too loud to think.

"I think this is one of the toughest moments I've had in all my career," Valverde said. "It's tough, but you have to be ready for tomorrow. You have to be serious for the game."

A year after Valverde finished perfect in save chances, he has spent much of the year struggling to follow it up. He has had his share of big pitches in tough situations and come through, but after a 49-for-49 campaign last year, this season's 35-for-40 looks like a letdown.

Wednesday felt different, from what looked like undulating mechanics in his delivery -- Valverde insisted it was the same motion he has done all year -- to an arsenal that consisted almost entirely of fastballs until his final couple hitters.

Reddick's ground ball barely eluded Omar Infante's outstretched glove through the right side for a leadoff single, awakening the sellout crowd of 36,385. Once Josh Donaldson lined Valverde's next offering off the left-field fence to put runners at second and third, the crowd was on its feet.

"We were in Detroit last time and he blew me away with three fastballs," Donaldson said. "I wasn't going to let it happen again. He threw me a fastball over the heart of the plate, and I was able to get a good piece of wood on it."

Smith swung and missed at one fastball but didn't miss the next, finding the gap as both runners scored to tie the game at 3.

Valverde nearly took the game into extra innings, getting a foul popup from pinch-hitter George Kottaras and a called third strike on Cliff Pennington.

All he had to worry about was Crisp, who went from goat to hero from Game 2 to Game 3 in the series.

"It was a split-finger down and away," catcher Alex Avila said of the first pitch, "and Crisp just caught it out in front and found a hole."

With that, the plastic coating that had lined Detroit's clubhouse lockers quickly went down, and the intensity for Game 5 went up. While A's players talked about the magic they've had all through this past month, the Tigers talked about the consistent approach they've had through their challenging times all season.

For a team that didn't take over the division race until the last week and a half of the season, it might be fitting.

"You draw on the talent we have, the fact that we know we belong here and we have our best pitcher going," Avila said. "There's a lot games you're going to lose. You're going to lose a lot of close games. They're definitely tough, but we're professionals for a reason. You've just got to come back and get them tomorrow. That's it.

"Yeah, it's tough. I'm upset right now. But you don't cry about it. I'm going to get ready. That was a great game."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson


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PostSubject: Re: 2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS - Page 8 Icon_minitimeFri Oct 12, 2012 2:49 am

Verlander sends Tigers to second straight ALCS
Right-hander tosses four-hit shutout, strikes out 11 A's in clincher

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/12/2012 3:43 AM ET

BOX>

OAKLAND -- The A's seemingly had destiny on their side. The Tigers had Justin Verlander on theirs.

Destiny didn't stand a chance.

For a pitcher with two no-hitters, an All-Star Game start and a World Series appearance as a rookie, this was Verlander's finest night. He took Thursday night's deciding American League Division Series Game 5 against an A's team coming off back-to-back wins, including a ninth-inning comeback, with a thunderous sellout crowd behind it, and shut it all down in a complete-game four-hitter with 11 strikeouts.

By the time the Tigers batted around in a four-run seventh inning, turning a pitching duel into a runaway 6-0 win, they had sapped the magic out of an A's run that a night ago seemingly had them headed to a Division Series comeback.

Instead, the Tigers are heading to their second straight AL Championship Series, where they'll await the winner of Friday's Game 5 between the Yankees and Orioles.

"After yesterday's loss, I'm sure not everybody in Detroit thought we were going to win today," catcher Alex Avila said. "But we had the best pitcher in the game going, and I liked our chances."

When manager Jim Leyland talked time and again over the last six years about momentum being as good as the next game's pitcher, this is what he meant. Even he might not have imagined this, the first postseason shutout by an AL pitcher in a winner-take-all game since Jack Morris of the 1991 World Series.

"He had that look in his eyes today," Leyland said. "He was determined. He had a complete-game look in his eye. And we were thankful to get that."

Tigers fans have been thankful for years to have Verlander on their side, but maybe never as much as this night.

"I think this is number one," Verlander said. "The two no-hitters are obviously up there, but that's something a little bit different. This is win or go home. My team needs me. And I was able to go out there and have one of the better performances I've had."

Verlander's outings have grown big enough in Detroit that he draws cheers whenever he emerges from the dugout a half-hour or so before a game to start warming up in the bullpen. As soon as he emerged from the visitors' dugout Thursday night, the boos rained down from the fans that had settled in at the Coliseum -- not just along the first-base side, but all over.

Once he took the mound for the bottom of the first inning, the noise enveloped him. That was pretty much all the noise the A's would make against him on the evening.

It wasn't a particular pitch that made this outing so great for him. His hardest fastball was 98 mph, and he only did it once or twice. The buckling curve he can use so well for strikeouts wasn't nearly as devastating as it has been on some nights.

This was a performance where the total package was greater than any one highlight pitch. It still left the unmistakable feeling that Verlander, whose reign as AL MVP will soon end, remains the toughest pitcher in the game. He now has a big-game gem to prove it.

"When Verlander gets on a roll like he was today, especially once he gets into his rhythm, you get into the middle innings and he's rolling along pretty good, it's tough to stop him," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It's like a locomotive going at a high speed. He was tough to deal with."

A two-out, first-inning double from Yoenis Cespedes gave Oakland its only runner in scoring position through the first seven innings. Not until Josh Donaldson's single in the eighth did the A's put a leadoff man on base.

In between was a mix of mid-90 fastballs, upper-80s changeups, awkward swings and mishit balls. The foul tips that ran up Verlander's pitch count against the A's in September and again in Game 1 were tougher to find.

"They tried to bring up his pitch count a little bit today," Avila said. "It's just that with his command, at times when they were taking, he was able to throw strikes, and when we thought they were going to be a little more aggressive, we were able to go out the zone a little bit. It was just a great combination of his stuff and command."

By the time Verlander threw his 50th pitch, he had an out in the fourth. His first baseman, meanwhile, had a feeling they had this game.

"I'd say maybe the fourth inning, I thought, 'All right. He hasn't thrown 100 yet but he's still got it,'" Prince Fielder said, "Whenever he doesn't have to throw as hard and they still can't touch it, it's all right. We have a good shot."

He had thrown 88 pitches through six innings, ended the seventh with called-third strikes on Seth Smith and Josh Reddick, yet still stood in double digits. He threw his 100th pitch to Donaldson leading off the eighth before his single gave the A's one more rally.

Cliff Pennington's two-out single in the eighth put two men on against Verlander and brought up Coco Crisp, whose at-bats had been the toughest on Tigers pitchers all series. After a first-pitch ball, however, Verlander used a 95-mph fastball to jam Crisp into an inning-ending groundout to second.

No pitcher has struck out more batters in a winner-take-all postseason game. Verlander's performance tied him with Cliff Lee, who struck out 11 Tampa Bay Rays over a complete-game victory for the Rangers in Game 5 of the 2010 AL Division Series.

The Tigers manufactured a lead for Verlander after Austin Jackson doubled in Omar Infante in the third and scored on a wild pitch. Singles from Jhonny Peralta and Infante chased A's starter Jarrod Parker in the seventh, and the Tigers put five consecutive baserunners on against Oakland's previously formidable bullpen, including a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch for Miguel Cabrera and Fielder's bloop single.

"When you're facing that kind of pitching, you just try to get the runs in whenever you can," Fielder said. "Today, they were facing our guy as well. We knew if we got him a couple, we had a good shot. I'm just glad we were able to come away with it."

Infante, who quietly had one of the best series by a Tigers position player, and Jackson both had two hits and two runs scored, giving the Tigers a spark on a night when they stole three bases to tie a postseason record.

But this night was all about Verlander. When he stepped into the clubhouse afterwards, he was doused with champagne as his teammates chanted, "Cy Young!"

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS - Page 8 Icon_minitimeSun Oct 14, 2012 10:33 pm

Forced to regroup, Tigers claim Game 1 in 12
Young's third RBI is winner after Valverde allows four runs in ninth

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/14/2012 3:16 AM ET

NEW YORK -- The Yankees' game-tying four-run rally off Jose Valverde in the ninth Saturday had plenty of Tigers fans calling for someone else to finish out a win. Few would've figured that chance was coming in the 12th inning.

Even fewer would've figured it would go to Drew Smyly.

"They did a great job of making a comeback. I think we did an even better job of staying strong and fighting," Smyly said after his two scoreless innings and Delmon Young's go-ahead double turned what looked like a nightmarish open to the American League Championship Series into a 6-4 victory Saturday night.

Or as Octavio Dotel said, expressing the prevailing sentiment in the clubhouse, "Today was a tough game, but thank God we won."

It doesn't make for an easy night's sleep for manager Jim Leyland, who faces perhaps the toughest test of his previously unwavering loyalty to his closer. The four-hour, 54-minute marathon had barely ended when Tigers officials already planned to gather and discuss Valverde's situation, including the possibility that he has been pitching with an injury.

"We are going to put our heads together and we'll talk with him," Leyland said. "We will talk with the staff and try to figure out if there is something going on that maybe is being camouflaged. ... And everything will be cleared up for everybody by the time I come in here before the game tomorrow."

Still, he'll be coming in with a chance to have his team take a 2-0 series lead back home if they can find a way to beat Hiroki Kuroda, pitching on three days' rest, and a Yankees lineup that will be without Derek Jeter, who fractured his left ankle in that 12th inning diving for a Jhonny Peralta ground ball.

Leyland has that chance because a team whose dugout reaction looked defeated after Raul Ibanez's game-tying two-run homer gathered itself. Through 3 1/3 scoreless innings from Dotel and Smyly, the Tigers outlasted the late-inning teeth of the Yankees' bullpen before rallying off David Phelps.

The way the Tigers season has unfolded, it's just another chapter.

"I didn't know we had to take that many, but we have been taking punches all year," Leyland said. "If we are going to be good enough, we have to be able to take a punch, and we took a big punch. We took a right cross in the ninth inning and we survived it."

The last time Smyly pitched in Yankee Stadium he earned his first Major League win in April to end the Tigers' season-high five-game losing streak. His performance that day earned him raves for his poise for a kid in his second full season as a pro.

It was nothing compared to what he was in for with his postseason debut.

When he began warming up in the third inning, he was a potential injury replacement for Doug Fister, who took a comebacker off his wrist on his way to escaping his second straight bases-loaded jam. Fister was surviving, but searching for his command. Even after he found it, he had to strand the bases loaded one more time by striking out Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin to end the sixth.

Fister left with one out in the seventh, having walked four and struck out five. Once Phil Coke and Joaquin Benoit finished the seventh and eighth, the Tigers were three outs away from a 4-0 shutout, and Fister was in line to become the first Tigers pitcher ever to beat the Yankees twice in the postseason.

Two-run homers from Ichiro Suzuki and Ibanez off Valverde, who nearly squandered a four-run lead here in Game 2 of last season's AL Division Series, erased that. It wasn't nearly as sudden as Valverde's blown save in Game 4 of the AL Division Series in Oakland on Wednesday, but it was just as crushing.

Add them together, and Valverde has allowed seven runs on seven hits with four outs in his last two games.

"In this game, you never know what's going to happen," said Valverde, who insisted he could still do the job despite his manager's questions. "All those guys did a good job against me -- Ibanez, Ichiro, all those guys. There's nothing I could do. Thank God my team won."

The reaction from the Tigers' dugout as Ibanez's third lead-changing home run this postseason landed in the seats said plenty. Many players watched aghast, having witnessed what looked like a huge series-opening win turn into a new game.

From a practical standpoint, the Tigers looked shaken. They weren't yet beaten.

"We're big leaguers," said Young, who drove in half of Detroit's run total. "Things are going to happen. The other team wants to drive Mercedes-Benzes and eat [at] Morton's, too."

Smyly, Young and others hammered home the same point: As bad as it looked, they treated it like a 0-0 game. Young, however, was still hitting hot.

Young's sixth-inning single drove in Detroit's second run before his eighth-inning homer built a 3-0 lead. It also gave him the Tigers' franchise record for career postseason home runs with six.

When Young grounded out leading off a 1-2-3 10th inning, the Tigers seemed lifeless. When he came up in the 12th against Phelps with Miguel Cabrera on second, he had a glimmer of hope.

Young's line drive seemed headed directly at right fielder Nick Swisher.

"I thought it was going to hook right back to him," Young said. "I don't know what happened."

Said Swisher: "I just got caught right up in the lights, and I just went completely blind. It kind of handcuffed me, and I didn't even see it for the last five, 10 feet."

Smyly, who entered for the left-handed-hitting heart of the New York order in the 11th, retired six of the seven Yankees hitters he faced to earn the win. Once Detroit took the lead, he racked up back-to-back strikeouts of Eric Chavez and Swisher in a surprisingly easy bottom of the inning as the remaining crowd emptied.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS - Page 8 Icon_minitimeSun Oct 14, 2012 10:36 pm

Anibal's gem gives Tigers 2-0 ALCS lead

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/14/2012 10:30 PM ET

BOX>

NEW YORK -- This is why the Tigers felt they could do something in October if they could only get there. Whatever the other factors, they felt they could dictate the game with dominant starting pitching.

After Sunday's 3-0 win over the Yankees sent them home to Detroit with a 2-0 lead in this American League Championship Series, it's not just a game the Tigers are dictating. With seven more shutout innings from Anibal Sanchez on top of Doug Fister's stinginess Saturday night, they're leveraging their strength in the series.

"They've done it in the past," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said, "but right now they're in a really good groove."

As they left the Big Apple on Sunday night and headed for an off-day at home, their first in a week, the Tigers stood two wins away from a spot in the World Series with their best starter, Justin Verlander, awaiting the Yankees on Tuesday at Comerica Park.

The Tigers became the 23rd team in LCS history to take a 2-0 series lead since it became a best-of-seven competition 26 years ago. Nineteen of the previous 22 went on to the World Series, the exceptions being the 1985 Blue Jays and Dodgers and the 2004 Yankees.

It's not over, but it's going to take the Yankees breaking up this stretch of starting pitching -- not once, but four times in five games. At this point, the Tigers are showing no signs of letting up.

"The thing is, we knew with our rotation, if we're able to get in, we knew we could do some damage," catcher Alex Avila said. "We have guys that can strike guys out, which is big in the playoffs. That's always like a must-have. And obviously, we have Verlander, so we were going to have a shot."

Yes, the Tigers got away with a missed call at second base on Sunday, extending the eighth inning for two add-on runs. But the Tigers were already up, 1-0, and Yankees were shut out. It cost them hope, but it didn't change the lead.

Hiroki Kuroda had five perfect innings and struck out seven of Detroit's first nine batters before giving up the game's first run in the sixth inning on a potential double-play ball and a fumbled exchange from second baseman Robinson Cano, giving Sanchez his first run of support in three weeks.

The Tigers had a closer-by-committee situation ready in Game 2 after back-to-back rough outings from Jose Valverde, leaving Detroit's bullpen a man short and Phil Coke closing Sunday's game with two innings. The Yankees never got a run.

"We have to make adjustments," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We know what they are doing to us."

Raul Ibanez entered Sunday on a postseason tear with three lead-changing homers. He couldn't get the Yankees a run.

Sanchez never allowed it. No Tigers starter has allowed it, not an earned run anyway, since Game 3 of the AL Division Series last week in Oakland. No Tigers pitcher did it in two games in New York aside from Valverde's four-run ninth inning in Saturday's series opener.

For the postseason, Tigers starters have allowed just five earned runs over 48 innings, averaging just under seven innings per start.

"I think it kind of started the last month of the season, knowing that we had to catch the White Sox," Avila continued. "Each one of our guys went out there and kind of one-upped the other, really pitched well the last month of the season to get into the playoffs, but also continued doing that into the playoffs."

Sanchez fell victim to a shutout in his postseason debut last week in Oakland, as the Tigers were silenced by left-hander Brett Anderson and the A's bullpen. It fit a pattern of run support, or lack thereof, for Sanchez that dated back to the first inning of his three-hitter on Sept. 25 against Kansas City.

For six innings, it looked like more of the same. While Kuroda got on a dominant roll early, Sanchez changed speeds and got awkward swings for 12 groundouts. One was a behind-the-back grab from Sanchez on a Russell Martin comebacker to strand runners at first and second in the opening inning.

At least three others were solid plays from shortstop Jhonny Peralta, including a charging barehand grab and throw on Martin's dribbler to strand Ichiro Suzuki at third.

As he had before, Sanchez kept them in it.

"I can throw all my pitches for a strike," he said, "and then hopefully if I'm behind in the count or ahead in the count, I can throw whatever on any corner. I talked before with Avila, and I think we were on a good page, and I think that's why we had a successful game today."

Not until Peralta singled leading off the sixth inning did the Tigers have a baserunner, and he was promptly stranded on three straight groundouts. The two hardest-hit balls off Kuroda, ironically, came from speedy slap hitter Quintin Berry, whose ground-rule double to straightaway center finally put Detroit in business leading off the seventh.

Miguel Cabrera's single moved Berry to third with nobody out, but Kuroda struck out Prince Fielder for the first out and had two strikes on Delmon Young. After a foul ball into the seats to stay alive, Young hit a ground ball that sent shortstop Jayson Nix, filling in for the injured Derek Jeter, into the hole.

Nix made a quick grab and flip to second to get Cabrera, but Cano couldn't handle the exchange to try to fire to first base, allowing Berry to score.

"I didn't get a grip on the ball," Cano said. "I looked at the replay, and I would say he might have been safe. That's no excuse. I didn't get a grip on the ball."

The two-run eighth continued on second-base umpire Jeff Nelson's missed call, having mistakenly ruled that Omar Infante got his hand back into the bag on Nick Swisher's throw behind him on Austin Jackson's single. From there, however, the Yankees bullpen couldn't get a stop, allowing back-to-back RBI singles to pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia -- his third late-inning RBI single of the postseason -- and Cabrera.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected for arguing the call with Nelson.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS - Page 8 Icon_minitimeWed Oct 17, 2012 2:03 am

Verlander delivers Tigers to doorstep of Series
Coke closes tense moment in ninth after ace goes 8 1/3 innings

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/17/2012 2:18 AM ET

BOX>

DETROIT -- Nobody makes a two-run lead feel like a chasm like Justin Verlander. In case anybody forgot, the Yankees nearly erased it at the very end.

Five days after Verlander diverted the destiny of the upstart Oakland A's, he all but sealed the fate of the top-seeded New York Yankees, one win away from an American League Championship Series sweep after a 2-1 Tigers win in Game 3 Tuesday night. In both cases, he didn't give the hitters much of a chance.

Then came the ninth inning, which seemed to last as long as the first eight, like a reminder to the 42,970 at Comerica Park to never take a Verlander gem for granted.

The end result of was the same. Thanks to Eduardo Nunez's leadoff home run in the ninth, the Yankees barely avoided being shut out in back-to-back postseason games for the first time in their illustrious history, but that was all they salvaged. And the Tigers stand on the precipice of their first World Series since 2006 -- a 4-1 loss to the Cardinals -- with a chance to claim their first World Series championship since 1984.

Verlander barely missed out on becoming the first pitcher since Orel Hershiser in 1988 to post back-to-back playoff shutouts, having thrown 132 pitches, but tied Kenny Rogers' Tigers record for postseason shutout innings at 23.

"Normally, I guess you don't take Secretariat out in the final furlong," manager Jim Leyland said, "but that was pretty much it for him."

The Tigers' rotation finally gave up an earned run for the first time in a week since Seth Smith homered off Anibal Sanchez in Game 3 of the AL Division Series. Yet in between homers, Detroit set a Major League postseason record with 37 2/3 consecutive innings by starting pitchers without an earned run.

"I think that's a great thing when you can get your entire rotation doing that," Verlander said. "And I think we're starting to click at the right time. The guys are getting healthy and starting to throw the ball the way we have been capable of all year."

It took what Leyland called the best breaking ball he has seen from Phil Coke all year, throwing it in a full count hoping that Yankees postseason hero Raul Ibanez would chase, to end it.

"I kind of felt like I might have gone a little unconscious as soon as I posted it up and let it go," Coke said.

And yet it never really felt that close. A 3-0 series lead, despite two wins that came down to the final at-bat, feels much the same. Whether or not Coke lost consciousness, Tigers starters have kept the Yankees lineup slumbering, no matter who's in it.

It included neither Alex Rodriguez nor Nick Swisher, both benched by manager Joe Girardi in an effort to spark a Yankees offense whose lone runs this series had come in a disastrous ninth inning from Jose Valverde in Game 1. In came speedy Brett Gardner and veteran Eric Chavez, who killed Tigers pitching for four games here in August.

Neither of them got a hit off Verlander. For that matter, neither did anyone else except Ichiro Suzuki, who leveraged two 3-0 counts into ground-ball singles. Verlander retired the first 10 batters he faced before Ichiro's single with one out in the fourth, then retired the next eight before Ichiro's next hit.

It wasn't the overpowering form Verlander used to strike out 11 Athletics last Thursday. He struck out just three Yankees, and he had to battle out of many more three-ball counts. But the awkward swings from Yankees hitters, and the looks on their faces coming back to the dugout, told the story of Verlander's dominance.

"Verlander, who averages I think over nine strikeouts per game, struck out three guys tonight," Girardi said. "And I think our guys really tried to put some good at-bats on him, and they did."

Said Verlander: "My approach was to get ahead and be aggressive and not let anybody score. That approach kind of went out the window in the fourth. I kind of fell out of rhythm a little bit and started falling behind guys."

He had to challenge them with fastballs to hit, by his standard. And except for Ichiro, he still didn't give up a hit.

"That tells you a lot about his stuff," Tigers catcher Alex Avila said, "and it tells you how hard it is to hit."

Delmon Young's seventh career postseason home run gave Verlander a lead to protect. Yankees starter Phil Hughes left seven pitches later with a stiff back, starting the Yankees on a parade of relievers as Girardi played matchups to keep it close.

He didn't have David Phelps walk Miguel Cabrera with first base open in the fifth inning following Quintin Berry's stolen base, and he paid for it with Cabrera's double over Curtis Granderson, who didn't get a good read on the ball as it soared deep to the gap in right-center.

The Yankees held Detroit there, getting an inning-ending double play from Cabrera with the bases loaded in the sixth. The way Verlander was pitching, it didn't seem to matter, even as he entered the ninth with 115 pitches.

Then came a nine-pitch duel with Nunez, starting in place of the injured Derek Jeter.

"Nunez put up one of the best at-bats, given the situation, I have ever seen, especially with me on the mound," Verlander said.

With the shutout gone, Leyland made the slow walk to the mound to tell him he had one more hitter. Gardner then worked him for eight pitches before grounding out.

They were the kind of at-bats the Yankees used to frustrate Verlander in past outings, and they kept them up after Coke retired Ichiro for the second out. Mark Teixeira battled out of a 1-2 count to get a full-count grounder through the middle past a diving Omar Infante. Robinson Cano lined a 2-2 pitch to left to end an 0-for-29 slump.

Ibanez had a 3-1 count and fouled off back-to-back fastballs, setting up Coke's leap of faith. If Ibanez doesn't offer, the bases are loaded for Swisher on deck to pinch-hit.

He offered.

"It came out of my hand like [a fastball], and then it fell off the table," Coke said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS - Page 8 Icon_minitimeThu Oct 18, 2012 9:47 pm

Party to the Max: Tigers sweep way to Series
Behind Scherzer, four homers, Detroit claims 11th AL pennant

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/18/2012 11:31 PM ET

BOX>

DETROIT -- As devastating was Max Scherzer's changeup was on Thursday, it was nothing compared with the curveball that the Tigers threw the rest of baseball to get to the World Series.

"This team," catcher Gerald Laird, "has been battle-tested."

The same Tigers team that battled until the final week of the season to pull ahead for good in the American League Central never trailed in the AL Championship Series. The team seemingly built to slug its way to the top, only to struggle to find its offense, pitched its way there instead.

It wasn't that the Tigers completed an ALCS upset of the Yankees with an 8-1 win in Game 4. Many believed they had the pitching to outlast the Bronx Bombers coming into the series. It's the way they dominated the series that was the surprise.

They're just the fourth team in Major League history to sweep a best-of-seven series without trailing. Not even Jose Valverde's ninth-inning collapse in Game 1 put them down.

The Yankees scored four runs off Valverde in that series-opening rally. They scored just two runs in the next three games.

Delmon Young, who was named the ALCS MVP after going 6-for-17 with two homers, drove in as many runs (six) as the Yankees scored in the series.

"You have to give a lot of credit to our pitchers," center fielder Austin Jackson said. "They didn't really give them a chance. They kept going out and making great pitches and getting outs and keeping them off the bases. That definitely gave us a chance offensively."

For close to five months, Detroit looked like one of baseball's underachievers. For one month, the Tigers played playoff-type baseball to get into the race. For two weeks, they played some of the stingiest baseball in postseason history.

"It was tough," first baseman Prince Fielder said. "I don't know what happened, or else I would've tried to make it happen earlier. But it started to click."

It all culminated in one magical evening and a flat-out mismatch. Once Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta hit two-run homers in a fourth-inning surge that built a 6-0 lead and chased Yankees ace CC Sabathia, the rest of the game became a celebration for the crowd of 42,477 who could make it after Wednesday's rainout.

At that point the Tigers were pulling away in the fourth, and the Yankees didn't have a hit off of Scherzer, who had only a Fielder error and an Ichiro Suzuki walk on his record.

After three games of hearing what the Yankees were doing wrong, the Tigers punctuated their sweep by doing nearly everything right. It was no contest.

"To be honest with you, people kept asking me the whole series about how the Yankees were struggling," catcher Alex Avila said. "That's not the way I look at it. When I look at the paper and I see all the home runs and RBIs and the averages, you have to attack them. You can't concern yourself about that, as long as you win the game. That's still a pretty good team."

They ran into some incredible pitching, punctuated by the return of the dominant Scherzer. Once he sent down the side in order in the fifth, having picked up a 6-0 lead, he had struck out nine of the first 16 batters he faced. Save for the velocity, he looked more like the midseason co-ace who led the big leagues in strikeouts for much of the summer.

"I was really just trying to keep it as relaxed as possible," Scherzer said. "For me, I was the one who lost last year in Game 6 of the ALCS, so I just used that as motivation. Just to have a chance and if I ever had a shot to pitch well in the ALCS again, I would do it. And sure enough I was able to do it and we're going to a World Series."

Said Laird: "It was just like, 'What do I want to put down now?' because he was just executing every pitch."

Eduardo Nunez's triple on Scherzer's first pitch of the sixth inning took care of the no-hit bid, and Nick Swisher's double two batters later broke up the shutout. Nothing, however, was going to break up the Tigers' celebration.

Scherzer finished with 10 strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings before another Peralta home run and a Jackson solo shot padded the margin.

Add that to the zeros they had already posted, and the Tigers' rotation owns a 1.02 ERA, seventh lowest in a single postseason. No team has a lower ERA playing more than five games in a postseason.

As much as the Yankees struggled, it wasn't just them.

"That's a team that I have so much respect for, because they can strike at any time with a home run," manager Jim Leyland said. "That's how they beat you, and we were able to shut that down. So we were very lucky in some ways, fortunate in some ways, and we played awful good. I don't want to take any credit away from my team. We played awful good."

Out by out, the Tigers were counting down. So were the fans. Drew Smyly, Octavio Dotel and Phil Coke shut down the Yankees over the final 3 1/3 innings, the last two by Coke.

"When Prince caught that [final] ball was when I could finally relax," Jackson said.

They were that worried. The way they pitched the whole series, the way they hit when it counted, it was never that close.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS - Page 8 Icon_minitimeThu Oct 25, 2012 1:03 am

Verlander, Tigers not themselves in Game 1

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/25/2012 2:30 AM ET

BOX>

SAN FRANCISCO -- The smirk on Justin Verlander's face as Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones slowly ambled to the mound in the third inning seemingly said plenty. He had just watched an Angel Pagan infield double off the third-base bag, then a Marco Scutaro two-out single after back-to-back 98-mph fastballs had been fouled off. As he put it, the wheels weren't coming off.

The "wow" Verlander mouthed after the very next pitch, sent by Pablo Sandoval over the left-field fence for a two-run home run -- the second of Sandoval's three homers on the night -- said the rest.

This was supposed to be the mismatch for Detroit to take command of the World Series early on the road, or at least counteract the rust on its bats from five days off since the end of the American League Championship Series. As Verlander watched the Giants pull away early toward an eventual 8-3 Tigers loss, sending him toward his quickest non-weather-related exit since 2009 and his roughest postseason outing since his rookie season of 2006, it looked like a nightmare.

The Panda tore into the Tigers on Wednesday night, and by the time Detroit could answer, it was far too late to avoid their first deficit in a series this postseason.

"Extremely impressive," Verlander said of Sandoval's historic performance. "I wish I hadn't contributed."

In the grand scheme of the Series, it isn't nearly a nightmare. Unlike Verlander's 2006 World Series opener, when the Tigers struggled against Cardinals rookie starter Anthony Reyes, this was a loss on the road and a Tigers rotation that runs deeper than Verlander. As bad as Wednesday's loss looked, a win in Game 2 on Thursday night (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8:07 ET first pitch) would still regain home-field advantage for Detroit with three games awaiting at Comerica Park, where the Tigers haven't lost this postseason.

The Tigers were 4-4 during the regular season after Verlander losses. A win this time would give them the road split most teams would take.

"Is it disappointing? Yeah," Verlander admitted. "Would you like to have won Game 1? Absolutely. But I don't know if you guys have been watching, but the three guys behind me have been doing pretty daggone well as well. It's not the end of the world by any means. I think we feel confident every day. There's nobody in there hanging their heads at all."

If the Tigers are going to even the series, however, they're going to have to play a better all-around game. For all of the bad fortune that came the club's way on Wednesday, Detroit didn't help its own cause much, either. Whether those five days off were a factor was a pressing question.

The Tigers scrimmaged against their instructional league players for two days, and they pitched and hit against each other. They did everything they could to keep their timing against live pitching and hitting. The end result suggests it didn't much matter.

"I think we played all right," Miguel Cabrera said. "We had five days off. I was thinking it's going to be a little tougher, about routine plays, about playing the game right. But it was all right.

"To this point, we have to give a lot of credit to San Francisco, because they were aggressive -- they swung early in the game and they scored a lot of runs early. I think we did everything to win the game, but they played better. They hit better."

The Tigers have seen early damage off Verlander before, notably during an August stretch when the Royals and Angels both jumped on his early pitches for big opening innings. In those cases, however, Detroit traced it back to Verlander needing to pick up his fastball from the get-go.

This wasn't a case of too little velocity. The Giants got to Verlander on command, extending at-bats with foul balls -- 30 of them -- until it was too late. San Francisco worked Verlander in a way no team had since the A's fouled off 33 of his pitches in a September meeting at Comerica Park. In so doing, the Giants bolstered their reputation as a solid contact-hitting team, a fact the Tigers knew well coming in.

"When he doesn't have a typical game to what he normally throws, it's fastball command more times than not," catcher Alex Avila said. "I've seen those nights before. There's times when obviously you manage it and still win a game and still pitch well doing it. We just weren't able to make the adjustment, and Sandoval hurt us."

Sandoval's first-inning drive to right-center field was the first home run Verlander gave up on an 0-2 pitch all season, and just the fourth of his seven-year Major League career. Verlander wanted to make him chase a high heater and left the 95-mph offering too close.

Verlander retired six in a row after that and came within a diving catch by Gregor Blanco of a tied game. Blanco's grab turned what could have been an RBI double by Cabrera into the end of a third-inning threat.

Pagan's well-placed double in the bottom of the third left Cabrera standing in disbelief as the ball rolled toward left field and Pagan kept on going into second.

"I was like, 'Uh-oh,'" Cabrera said.

It was the two-out spark that ignited the top of the Giants' order.

"It's a shame that starts a big rally like that," Verlander said.

Scutaro fouled off back-to-back full-count heaters before his liner up the middle plated Pagan. It also brought up Sandoval, whose 2-0 count brought out Jones.

"I asked him what he's doing out there," Verlander said. "He told me just to slow down a little bit. I told him, 'Well, all you did was get the crowd riled up.' We just had a little it of a laugh."

The next pitch was the fastball expected by Sandoval, whose opposite-field poke over the fence in the left-field corner put San Francisco clearly in command.

The early run support, Cabrera said, was the difference for Giants starter Barry Zito, whose 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball quieted the Tigers' offense in a way other finesse lefties, such as Kansas City's Bruce Chen, had done in the regular season.

"I think after that, [Zito] came with a lot more confidence and made some good pitches, controlled the count," Cabrera said. "I think that was the difference in the game. I think we battled, battled good, making him throw some pitches, but in this game, they scored a lot of runs and we don't have control over that."

Verlander, who had allowed two runs on 10 hits over 25 1/3 innings this postseason, left having allowed five runs on six hits over four innings. When Danny Worth pinch-hit in the top of the fifth, it marked Verlander's quickest exit for reasons other than weather since June 16, 2009, when the Cards chased him after four innings in St. Louis.

"I think you can pretty much sum it up, when you use five pitchers in a game that Justin Verlander starts, that's not good tonic," manager Jim Leyland said. "That usually doesn't work too good. I think momentum is your next day's pitcher."

That's usually the slogan when Verlander is the next day's pitcher. For once, the Tigers are hoping it holds for the following day.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS - Page 8 Icon_minitimeFri Oct 26, 2012 1:13 am

Held to two hits, Tigers face two-game hole

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/26/2012 2:00 AM ET

BOX>

SAN FRANCISCO -- Doug Fister took what looked like a crushing blow in the form of a line drive off his head and acted like nothing had happened. He just kept on playing, much to the amazement of those who saw Gregor Blanco's liner, which landed in center field.

Now, once again, it's time to see whether these Tigers can do the same. This time, it's on the biggest stage of their lives.

"The thing is, we have no choice," Prince Fielder said. "We're 0-2. You can't wish it to be gone."

The Tigers felt like they played well enough to come out of AT&T Park with a split in the World Series. They knew Fister pitched well enough. After Thursday's 2-0 loss to the Giants in Game 2, they're still halfway to watching their championship dreams end.

The Tigers are going back to Comerica Park, where they owned the second-best home record in baseball during the regular season and are 4-0 this postseason. But they're going there with the teeth of the Giants' rotation -- Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain -- awaiting them. At least those two are right-handers, rather than another round of lefties that have flummoxed them for most of the season, but that's not not much consolation.

"We've been playing must-win games most of the season," said Justin Verlander, who needs a Detroit win sometime this weekend to get another chance at San Francisco in Game 5. "We played them and won when we had to, so ... we've got to win."

The last eight teams to jump out to a 2-0 World Series lead have gone on to win it. The 1996 Yankees were the last to overcome such a deficit, winning four straight after dropping the first two games to the Braves at Yankee Stadium.

In a season like the Tigers have had, a 2-0 deficit in a seven-game series should seem like nothing. They were trailing the American League Central-leading White Sox by three games with 15 games to play before finally rallying, and they had to bounce back from a walk-off loss in Game 4 of the AL Division Series to beat the A's in a decisive Game 5. They won five straight starting with that game before running into these Giants, who have gone from potential elimination in both the National League Division Series and NL Championship Series to a couple of wins from a title, thanks to their current five-game winning streak.

In that sense, Game 2 seemed like the latest addition to the script. In another sense, it seemed like another night of the baseball Gods working against Detroit.

"I don't think we lost," Fielder said. "I think we just got beat."

If not for Hunter Pence's eighth-inning sacrifice fly, it would've been the first World Series game in which the winning team didn't record an RBI. It also would've been the first game in the Fall Classic since 1962 that came down to a run-scoring double play, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

It'll go down as the latest game in which the Tigers have struggled to hit a left-handed starting pitcher; they hit just .253 off lefties in the regular season. In that sense, Madison Bumgarner's seven innings of two-hit ball, which included eight strikeouts, were a continuation of Barry Zito's gem in Game 1.

"Let him off the hook? We had two hits," Delmon Young said. "I don't know what hook you're talking about."

And yet both hits provided a reminder of why these last two nights were agonizing, and why they felt like the Tigers could've earned a split.

The first came from Young, whose ground ball just inside third base followed Fielder's plunking. Young's drive bounced off the fence down the left-field line behind the bullpen mounds in foul territory as Fielder was rumbling into third, where he got the wave home from third-base coach Gene Lamont.

As both Lamont and manager Jim Leyland admitted, it was an optimistic call that became clear once the ball caromed to Blanco. Yet it was a close enough play that it took a catch-and-swipe motion from catcher Buster Posey to retire Fielder.

"Swipe tag," Fielder said. "Nothing you can do. Tip your cap."

Said Lamont: "If I had to do it over, I would have held him. But we haven't really been scoring runs, and I got overly aggressive, I guess."

It was one of those nights for Fielder, whose fourth-inning fly ball sent Blanco to the warning track in left to run it down, just two pitches after third baseman Pablo Sandoval robbed Miguel Cabrera of a hit. Those plays followed Detroit's only hit outside of Young's double, a leadoff infield single from Omar Infante.

Fister shrugged those off, just as he had the Blanco drive that hit him in the second inning. Fister not only stayed on his feet after that liner but fired back, retiring 12 consecutive Giants from the second inning into the sixth and carrying a scoreless gem into the seventh.

Fister didn't get his deficit until he was out of the game following Pence's single leading off the seventh.

With Jose Valverde's availability to close limited and Phil Coke now looking at late-inning duty, Leyland admitted his bullpen situation impacted his decision to go with rookie lefty Drew Smyly. Smyly may have shown his jitters with a walk of Brandon Belt, but his look at Blanco's sacrifice-bunt attempt as it died inside the third-base line was out of the lefty's control.

"Where that bunt is, he's going to be safe," Smyly said.

With the bases loaded and no outs, and with Smyly struggling to throw strikes in relief, the Tigers were willing to concede a run, playing their infielders back in the hopes of avoiding a much bigger inning. Better one run, Leyland's thought went, than two. That much went as planned, as Brandon Crawford grounded into a double play to break a scoreless tie.

"I felt we had to take our best shot to come out of it with one run," Leyland said, "because if we don't score, it doesn't make any difference anyway."

The way this game went for Detroit, it was moot. The way the Tigers' season has gone, it was another shot to take.

"I don't think they're getting any breaks," Leyland said. "I think they've earned everything they've got. Up to this point, they've outplayed us."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: 2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS - Page 8 Icon_minitimeSun Oct 28, 2012 1:38 am

Stagnant offense has Tigers' backs to wall

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/28/2012 2:10 AM ET

BOX>

DETROIT -- Justin Verlander likes to say the Tigers have been playing must-win baseball since September. Now, for just the second time this postseason, that's not an exaggeration.

The Tigers won when they had to in Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the A's. Now, they'll need four wins in a row, something no team has done in World Series history, if they're going to realize their championship dreams.

"I don't go home imagining being down 0-3 in the World Series," Prince Fielder said, "but it is what it is now. We've got to go play hard."

With a few variations, that was pretty much the common theme after a second straight 2-0 loss to San Francisco on Saturday night in Game 3 put Detroit on the brink of elimination. No rah-rah speeches, no team meetings, no rituals. Just play, just like the club did when it was trailing the first-place White Sox in the AL Central in mid-September.

Only the 2004 Red Sox have overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series. That was in the AL Championship Series. Teams up 3-0 are 23-for-23 in winning the World Series and have pulled off a sweep 20 times.

The Tigers know the odds.

"You're talking about sacrificing a chicken or something? We're not going to do that," Delmon Young said. "We're just going to come in here and hope for the best and try to get some early runs. That's what they've been doing against us."

And that's the crux of it. It's must-win baseball. It's also must-hit baseball. The Tigers are going to have to do the latter to accomplish the former. If they don't, the autumn chill that settled over Comerica Park will turn to winter cold with a title still a dream.

Verlander, scheduled to start a potential Game 5 on Monday, won't be able to do anything about it unless Detroit beats Giants ace Matt Cain on Sunday night. Neither of the Tigers' other two starters has been able to do anything about it, either.

Detroit has gotten 13-plus innings with three runs allowed from Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez over the past two games and has a pair of 2-0 losses to show for it.

"We got tremendous pitching effort," manager Jim Leyland said, "but we've been shut out for 18 innings, so it's pretty hard to win a game."

The Tigers are the first team to be shut out in back-to-back World Series games since the 1966 Dodgers, who were blanked three straight times to complete a four-game sweep. That team owns the World Series record for fewest runs scored in a World Series with two. Detroit heads into Game 4 with three.

For a team that hasn't led all series, the Tigers have a right to feel like they're playing close baseball. Their pitching isn't far off from what they delivered in an ALCS sweep of the Yankees. The results have completely swung.

"They've pitched us just like Oakland did, but we haven't hit all playoffs," Young said. "We've just been fortunate enough that the other teams haven't been hitting, either."

The Tigers battled their way to a division title with a torrid stretch run from Miguel Cabrera and an offense that manufactured runs when it needed to, from dropping sacrifice bunts to taking an extra base on a hit. They tried aggressiveness in Game 2 and paid for it. They tried to set up the big hit on Saturday but never found it.

"You don't really manufacture a lot with the big guys in the middle," Leyland said. "You let them whack away at it. Maybe I need to be a little more creative."

Detroit put the sellout crowd of 42,262 at Comerica Park on its feet in two of the first three innings, placing runners on first and second with one out twice. Both times, Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong put fans back in their seats by inducing inning-ending double plays -- one from Fielder, the other from speedy outfielder Quintin Berry.

"I feel like I killed that inning for us," Berry said.

The same fans were roaring in the fifth after back-to-back singles from Alex Avila and Omar Infante and a walk by Austin Jackson loaded the bases with one out. They were on their feet with a 2-1 count to Berry, the Tigers' unexpected midseason sparkplug.

What followed was Vogelsong's best stretch of the night, back-to-back high fastballs to send down Berry swinging at both before back-to-back fastballs to Cabrera, who received trophies for this year's Triple Crown feat and the AL Hank Aaron Award before the game. The first fastball to the AL MVP Award front-runner hit the inside edge, right where Cabrera usually drives pitches out to left. The second was elevated enough by Vogelsong to tempt the batting champion.

"It looked like he climbed the ladder a little bit," Leyland said, "and sometimes that's the pitch that you do pop up."

As Cabrera's pop fly fell into shortstop Brandon Crawford's glove, the fans fell in turn. The mid-40s temperatures downtown might as well have been sub-freezing for the Tigers, who fell to 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position for the Series.

"He's been so good at that all year," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Vogelsong, "and that's what makes him such a good pitcher, a quality pitcher."

Vogelsong allowed five hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings and has given up three runs on 16 hits over 24 2/3 innings this postseason. His 1.05 ERA is the lowest by a starter over that many innings in a postseason since Orel Hershiser in 1988.

Yet take away the run total, and Sanchez outpitched him, striking out eight over seven innings of six-hit ball, including six called third strikes. In the end, two second-inning runs, set up by a Hunter Pence leadoff walk and a wild pitch that moved Pence to third base with one out, were Sanchez's downfall.

With a full count and his pitcher needing a strikeout of Gregor Blanco, Avila set up down and away for a slider. Sanchez got the pitch down, but it was just enough over the plate for Blanco to golf it to the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center field for an RBI triple.

"It was probably a little more middle of the plate than you want, but still, he hit it -- you're talking about like this," Avila said, not much space between his index finger and thumb. "That's hard to explain right there."

Anibal Sanchez caught Hector Sanchez looking for the strikeout he needed, but Crawford's sinking liner dropped in front of a charging Jackson in center field for another run.

The 2-0 cushion on Saturday was insurmountable. The 3-0 series cushion is now the Tigers' concern.

They've got to win. They've got to hit.

"Everybody's playing hard," Fielder said. "Everybody's prepared. We just don't get to write the script. It's not working out right now. Hopefully, tomorrow we'll come out and get a win."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson


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PostSubject: Re: 2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS   2012 DETROIT TIGER SCHEDULE AND RESULTS - Page 8 Icon_minitimeMon Oct 29, 2012 1:43 am

Tigers' scrappy effort ends in heartbreak
TO BE UPDATED

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 10/29/2012 12:27 AM ET

BOX>

DETROIT -- The Tigers needed a miracle to get back into the World Series. They had to settle for a teeth-chattering nail-biter on their way out. It was at least better than going out with a whimper.

On Sunday night, Detroit matched its runs total from the first three games of the World Series combined and got more scoreless innings from its bullpen than in those first three games, but it wasn't enough. Once Marco Scutaro punched a single off Phil Coke to drive in Ryan Theriot with two outs in the 10th inning, the Giants had what they needed to send the Tigers to a 4-3 loss in Game 4 to complete a World Series sweep.

"I mean, I'm a little bit flabbergasted, to be honest with you," manager Jim Leyland said. "In both of those series, I never would have thought that we would have swept the New York Yankees, and I never would have thought that the Giants would have swept us, but it happened."

It was a disappointment to many of the 42,152 who braved the rain and cold at Comerica Park hoping to see the Tigers last at least one more game. It was agony for them as two Jhonny Peralta drives died at the warning track in a tied game, and as Jeremy Affeldt struck out the middle of Detroit's lineup -- Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young -- with the potential go-ahead run on base in the eighth inning.

It was not, by any count, boring. For at least one evening, the fight many wanted to see from a Detroit team that had outlasted the A's in the American League Division Series before sweeping the Yankees in the AL Championship Series came out in droves.

In the end, the offensive struggles that many predicted would doom the Tigers proved to be their downfall. It just happened a month later than many expected, eventually ending an amazing run for a team that stood three games out of a playoff spot with 15 games left in the regular season.

"Like I said before the game in my office, if somebody told me in Spring Training that we would be in the World Series, I would have had to say, 'I'll take that,'" Leyland said. "It was kind of a weird way that we got there, because we were a little inconsistent all year. Then we played pretty good when we had to to get the division, and we obviously played pretty good through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

"We got to the World Series, and we just sputtered offensively."

With winds gusting toward right field, all three Tigers runs came on home runs in that direction. Cabrera's third-inning fly ball with two outs kept taking Hunter Pence farther and farther back before the right fielder ran into the fence.

With that, the Tigers not only ended their streak of consecutive scoreless innings -- accumulating since the ninth inning of Game 1 -- at 20, they took their first lead of the series, building a 2-1 advantage. Detroit starter Max Scherzer took that lead into the sixth inning, fanning eight Giants along the way, before Buster Posey's two-run drive down the left-field line defied the winds and snuck inside the foul pole for his first home run of the Series.

That San Francisco lead lasted two outs. Young answered in the bottom of the inning with an opposite-field shot for his club-record eighth postseason homer in a Detroit uniform.

From there, the bullpens traded big outs, from four consecutive strikeouts from Affeldt to four strikeouts over two innings by Coke.

After all of those home runs, San Francisco finally ended it with a couple of short singles. The first came from Theriot with a blooper into right field for a leadoff single in the 10th. The second came from Scutaro, whose sinking liner fell just in front of center fielder Austin Jackson as Theriot charged around third.

Sergio Romo sent down the Tigers in the ninth. Once he got a called third strike on Cabrera, Detroit's October run was officially over.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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