Every Major League postseason game has a turning point -- a moment that was crucial to one team winning or losing. During the American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers, SB Nation New York had decided to select a turning point for each game. We will re-live that moment and break it down to explain why if it didn't happen, the Yankees would have either won or lost the game. If you have an opinion, please feel free to discuss in the comment section below. (Turing point: Game 1.)
The Game 2 turning point came in the bottom of the ninth inning when Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano came to the plate with two outs and with runners on second and third base.
To start the bottom half of the inning, the Yankee trailed 5-1 and the Tigers' brought in their closer Jose Valverde. With the rain beginning to come down, Yankee outfielder Nick Swisher belted a lead-off home run to cut the deficit to 5-2. Then, designated hitter Jorge Posada smoked a ball into the left-center field gap and legged out his first career postseason triple. Catcher Russell Martin then walked and then Andruw Jones drove in a run with a sac fly to right field.
After shortstop Derek Jeter struck out on six pitches -- the last was a nasty two-seam fastball that moved too far inside for Jeter to hit it -- outfielder Curtis Granderson stepped to the plate. Granderson battled and almost was retired on a small pop fly, which drifted towards the Tigers dugout and was about to be caught by catcher Alex Avila, but he slipped on the plastic on-deck covering that was wet because of the rain. Avila's slip seemed yet another Yankee break that would work in their favor as Granderson eventually worked a six-pitch walk to put the tying run at the plate. That tying run was Cano, the Yankees' best hitter.
By this time, the rain, which started as a trickle when the inning began, was now a downpour. Those who watched the game could see it was difficult for Cano to even see the ball -- during Jeter's at-bat, the Captain had to squint heavily and wipe the brim of his helmet multiple times before the ball was delivered to the plate. However, Cano battled and on the fourth pitch of the at-bat, Cano just missed an inside fastball, which probably would have been driven into the right field corner -- Granderson' speed at first base would have allowed him to score with two outs. On the very next pitch, Valverde got Cano to slap a grounder to record the final out.
The drama of Cano's final at-bat was postseason baseball at it's best, especially with the rain falling and making it that much more difficult for the pitcher and batter. However, the four-run defecit to begin the inning just proved to be too much for even the Yankees to overcome. Now, the best-of-five series is tied at a game apiece and will head to Detroit where aces, the Yankees C.C. Sabathia and the Tigers' Justin Verlander, will face each other in a pivotal Game 3.