Tigers blank Yankees to stretch playoff lead
October 16, 2012, 12:39 am TWN
NEW YORK -- Venezuelan right-hander Anibal Sanchez hurled seven shutout innings and the Detroit Tigers defeated the New York Yankees 3-0 on Sunday to seize command of their Major League Baseball playoff series.
The Tigers lead 2-0 in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series that shifts to Detroit for Game 3 Tuesday. The Tigers-Yankees winner will face either San Francisco or reigning champion St. Louis in the World Series.
Sanchez surrendered only three hits while walking three and striking out seven to baffle a struggling Yankees lineup that was without captain Derek Jeter, the star shortstop who broke his left ankle in a game one loss Saturday.
“I took it inning by inning, hitter by hitter. I feel good,” Sanchez said. “The team helped me. It was a good game for me and for the team. We need to keep winning. The Yankees are a good team. We can't give them anything.”
The game turned on a botched pickoff call by second base umpire Jeff Nelson that allowed the Tigers to stretch a one-run lead to 3-0 in the eighth inning.
Omar Infante singled and took second on an Austin Jackson single, but only after overrunning the base and diving to get back.
New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano tagged him before he reached the base but Nelson ruled Infante safe, denying the Yankees an inning-ending out.
Instead, Infante scored on a single by pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia and Miguel Cabrera singled to send in Jackson, padding Detroit's advantage.
“A little thing in baseball is big right now,” Cabrera said. “We have to take that.”
Video replays showed Infante should have been called out and Nelson ejected Yankees manager Joe Girardi on the bench boss' 48th birthday for his vehement arguing of the errant decision.
After the game, Girardi made a plea for the expansion of limited video replay options in Major League Baseball.
“It's frustrating,” Girardi said. “I don't have a problem with Jeff's effort because he hustled to get to the play. But in this day and age when we have instant replay available to us, it has got to change.
“These guys are under tremendous amounts of pressure. It is a tough call for him because the tag is underneath and it's hard for him to see. And it takes more time to argue and get upset than you get the call right.