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Yankees Face Elimination After Falling 5-4 To Verlander, Tigers

Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Delmon Young's tie-breaking solo home run and Justin Verlander's mighty eight-inning performance has sent the Detroit Tigers to the brink of eliminating the New York Yankees from the postseason.

Young, who was acquired from Minnesota on August 15, homered to right field off Rafael Soriano with one out in the seventh, providing the Tigers with a 5-4 victory in the pivotal Game 3 of their American League Division Series.

Verlander (1-0), the expected choice for this year's AL Cy Young Award, piled up 11 strikeouts over his 120-pitch effort. The powerful right-hander, who allowed six hits and four runs with three walks, touched triple-digits on the radar gun into the eighth inning, helping the Tigers grab a 2-1 series lead.

Jose Valverde walked Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner in the ninth, but Derek Jeter swung through a 2-2 pitch to end the game.

CC Sabathia labored through 5 1/3 innings in the start against Verlander for the second time in four days, walking six batters and giving up seven hits and four runs.

"I actually thought he made a lot of good pitches tonight and I thought the zone was a small zone tonight," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the strike area that was called by home plate umpire Gerry Davis. "No disrespect to anyone, but that's what I thought. That's what I saw."

The two aces started Friday's Game 1, but rain caused a suspension in the second inning, and both teams went with different pitchers when the contest resumed Saturday, resulting in a 9-3 New York victory. The AL Central champs came back to win the second game of this best-of-five set, 5-3, on Sunday.

The Tigers, who beat the Yankees in four games in the 2006 ALDS, have an opportunity to finish the job Tuesday at 8:37 p.m. (et), again at Comerica Park. The AL East champions will send A.J. Burnett to the mound, while Detroit goes with Rick Porcello.

With the Tigers up 4-2, Verlander retired the first two batters of the seventh, but then ran into trouble by walking Posada and hitting Russell Martin with a pitch. Gardner, who had no extra-base hits in his first 48 career postseason at-bats, then lined a 3-2 pitch to the gap in left-center field to tie the game. Jeter then struck out.

"I lost my rhythm for three batters and all of a sudden you look up and it's a tie game," Verlander said. "But this team has a never-say-die attitude. We did what we've done all year, which is either come from behind or have a big hit when we needed it, when we're tied. Whatever it may be, we always seem to find a way."

With one out in the seventh, Young smacked a first offering from Soriano (0-1) the opposite way with the ball barely clearing the right field wall.

"The total year has been up and down," Young said. "Ever since I came to Detroit it has been a lot of positives. I've been enjoying the time with the guys over here and winning ball games all series -- I mean the divisional championship. We're just looking to come out here as a team and trying to take care of business tomorrow."

In an incredible display of power, Verlander reached 101 mph on the radar gun when facing Alex Rodriguez in the eighth inning, but that at-bat resulted in a two-out walk. Mark Teixeira then popped out to short left field.

Posada walked with one out in the ninth and pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez pilfered second, just after Martin flied out to the warning track in right. After Gardner walked, Jeter, who had a two-hit night, fanned on a 94 mph fastball, sealing Valverde's second career postseason save.

Verlander labored through a 22-pitch first inning. Jeter grounded the game's first pitch up the middle into center field. Curtis Granderson then tagged a high Verlander pitch to center field for a triple. After Robinson Cano struck out, Rodriguez hit a slow bouncer to Jhonny Peralta at shortstop, but his only play was to first due to the speed of Granderson, who made it 2-0.

"I was a little worried because he kind of had to amp up a little bit early," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I was a little concerned about that, but he got through it. It ended up that his pitch count wasn't really too bad."

Sabathia walked three batters in the opening inning, but lead-off man Austin Jackson was wiped off the bases on a double-play grounder. With men on first and second, Sabathia fanned Victor Martinez to end the threat.

There were double plays hit in five consecutive half-innings, from the bottom of the first through the third, but the Tigers were still able to square the contest thanks to Sabathia being squeezed in the strike zone.

The burly left-hander gave up a double to Brandon Inge to start the Detroit third and then walked Jackson. Ramon Santiago lined an RBI single to left field and Young followed with a sinking liner to right to load the bases. Miguel Cabrera then grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, but that tied the game. Sabathia then retired Victor Martinez on a grounder to third.

Verlander caught Nick Swisher looking at strike three to conclude the Yankee fourth and then struck out the side on just 10 pitches in the fifth with Posada, Martin and Gardner victimized by the intense movement on Verlander's pitches, particularly his curveball.

Inge lined a single to center on the eighth pitch of his at-bat to lead off the bottom of the fifth and advanced a base on Jackson's sacrifice bunt. Santiago then belted a one-hop double off the wall in left-center to give Detroit a 3-2 lead.

"It was tough, put us in a bad spot," Sabathia said. "Next time I get the ball, I'll try to go out and try to help us win. I wasn't able to do that tonight."

Verlander piled up two more strikeouts in the top of the sixth, and the Tigers expanded their lead in the bottom half. Don Kelly bunted past the mound on the first-base side, a ball Sabathia couldn't get to in time, which resulted in an infield hit. Peralta then crushed a 1-0 pitch off the wall in left field. The ball bounded away from Gardner, allowing Kelly to score easily.

Game Notes

Verlander's 11 strikeouts are the most by a Tigers pitcher in the playoffs since Joe Coleman had 14 on October 10, 1972 against Oakland in Game 3 of the ALCS...Sabathia threw 62 of his 106 pitches for strikes...The Yankees are 3- for-24 with runners in scoring position in this series...The six walks by Sabathia ties his career-high in a regular season or postseason game.

Final - 10.3.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York Yankees 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 4 6 0
Detroit Tigers 0 0 2 0 1 1 1 0 X 5 8 0
WP: Justin Verlander (1 - 0)
SV: Jose Valverde (1)
LP: Rafael Soriano (0 - 1)

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