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Verlander, Young lead Tigers’ win

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Associated Press
October 4, 2011
— Justin Verlander struck out 11 in eight gritty innings and Jose Valverde stopped a New York Yankees rally for the second straight night, whiffing Derek Jeter with two on to close out the Detroit Tigers’ 5-4 victory Monday.

Delmon Young hit a tiebreaking homer in seventh off Rafael Soriano and the Tigers took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five American League playoff, pushing the Yankees to the brink of elimination.


Their hopes ride tonight on A.J. Burnett, the $82.5 million pitcher who was so unreliable this season that he wasn’t supposed to get a start in this series. A rainstorm changed all that when Game 1 was suspended Friday night, forcing both teams to alter their pitching plans.


Verlander and New York ace CC Sabathia were back on the mound after their series-opening matchup at Yankee Stadium was halted after only 1˝ innings.


While Sabathia didn’t make it through the sixth Monday, Verlander was still hitting 100 mph on the stadium radar gun in the eighth.


Valverde took over in the ninth—and another dramatic ending followed. The All-Star closer, who was perfect in 49 save chances this season, walked two and got a warning-track flyout before striking out Jeter to end it.


Trailing by four in the ninth on Sunday, the Yankees scored twice against Valverde before he got Robinson Cano to ground out with two on to close out a 5-3 victory in Game 2.


The Yankees managed two quick runs off Verlander in the first, but the 24-game winner settled down. He appeared to be laboring at times, allowing four runs, six hits and three walks, but he stayed in for 120 pitches and Detroit produced just enough offense.


Brett Gardner tied it for the Yankees with a two-run double in the seventh, but Young answered with a homer to right to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead.


n Rangers 4, Rays 3—At St. Petersburg, Fla., Colby Lewis outpitched All-Star David Price, Mike Napoli hit a go-ahead homer and the defending AL champions survived a shaky effort from the bullpen to hold off Tampa Bay in Game 3 of their best-of-five series.


The Rangers’ fourth straight division series road win matched the third-longest streak in major league history and gave them a 2-1 lead heading into today’s Game 4.


Texas won three ALDS games at Tampa Bay a year ago, when it eliminated the Rays in five games.



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