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 relive 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.
SB Nation New York's ALDS Game 1 turning point came in the top of the fifth inning when the Detroit Tigers had runners on first and second with one out. On the mound was Yankee rookie pitcher Ivan Nova, while at the plate was Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who smoked a 1-0 change up into center field for a base hit. The ball landed just in front of Yankee center fielder Curtis Garnderson, who fielded the ball and tossed it to cutoff man, shortstop Derek Jeter.
While the ball was approaching Granderson in center, Detroit catcher Alex Avila, who was on second base after getting on with a walk and advancing on a Ryan Raburn single, hesitated as he headed to third base and rounded towards home plate. The slight hesitation was just enough for Jeter to receive the throw from Granderson and relay a strike to catcher Russell Martin, who caught Jeter's toss and tagged out Avila, all in one motion, at home.
A batter later, Nova got Detroit's third baseman Wilson Betemit to hit a fly ball to center field for the third out.
If Avila was able to get a better read off Peralta's single -- or even was a little faster -- and Granderson, Jeter and Martin didn't pull off a textbook relay, then the momentum would have switched in favor of the Tigers. However, that didn't happen and in the bottom of the sixth inning, Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano hit a run-scoring double with two outs to help New York take a 2-1 lead. An inning later, the Yankees used a Cano grand slam to score six runs and take a 8-1 advantage.
Turning Point honor roll:
- In the top of the sixth inning, Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson led off with a single. Four pitches later, Jackson tried to steal, but outfielder Magglio Ordonez hit a ground ball right at second base, which is where Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano was standing. Cano fielded the ball, stepped on second and tossed it to first for the easy 5-3 double play. If Jackson wasn't stealing, the Tigers would have had men on second and first with no outs.