As a sellout crowd of 42,477 spilled out of Comerica Park to take the party to the streets of Detroit on Thursday night, champagne soaked the Tigers’ clubhouse floor. The Tigers snared the AL pennant, thoroughly bashing the Yankees, 8-1, in Game 4 to earn a sweep of New York. A Tigers team that nearly missed the playoffs entirely punched its ticket to the World Series and appears to be peaking at the perfect time.
“I don’t think as a team we ever doubted ourselves,” said staff ace Justin Verlander, a cigar in his left hand, goggles on his head and his clothes thoroughly drenched in booze. “In this clubhouse, we’re family.
“We ended up where we needed to be and started playing our best baseball in the process.”
In Game 4, Detroit starter Max Scherzer didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning, and the Yankees managed only two in the game. Scherzer picked up his first win of the postseason, allowing one run on two hits while striking out 10 in 52
3 innings against a listless Yankees lineup.
After scoring four runs in an extra-inning loss in Game 1, the Yankees managed only two more runs in the final three games. They were without their captain, Derek Jeter, who broke his ankle in Game 1, and had to suffer through untimely slumps from Alex Rodriguez (3 for 25 in the postseason), Robinson Cano (3 for 40), Nick Swisher (5 for 30) and Curtis Granderson (3 for 30).
“We didn’t swing the bats,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said. “It wasn’t one guy, it wasn’t two guys, it was a bunch of guys. . . . Collectively we weren’t able to get it done.”
Said Rodriguez: “They outplayed us in every facet of the game. They were the better team.”
In Game 4 especially, the Tigers dominated at the plate and on the mound. Detroit got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first when Delmon Young singled in Omar Infante. Two innings later, Mark Teixeira’s error helped the Tigers load the bases, and Avisail Garcia hit an infield single back up the middle, over the glove of Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, to score Prince Fielder from third for what amounted to the game-winning run.
While Scherzer mowed through the New York lineup, Tigers sluggers put the game out of reach in the fourth, when both Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta blasted two-run homers, giving the Tigers a 6-0 advantage. Peralta added another homer in the eighth inning.
The Tigers outhit the Yankees 16-2 on Thursday. In the series, Detroit bats accounted for more than twice as many hits (46-22) and more than three times as many runs (19-6). So dominant was the Tigers’ rotation that the Yankees managed only two runs off Detroit’s four starters.