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Tigers into World Series, Cards closing in

DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers advanced to the World Series by beating the New York Yankees 8-1 on Thursday to complete a four-game sweep of the American League Championship Series, with the St. Louis Cardinals looming as their likely opponent.

The Cardinals comfortably beat the San Francisco Giants 8-3 to take a 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series, with an opportunity to clinch back-to-back World Series berths when they host Game 5 on Friday.

Detroit's Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta hit two-run homers in a four-run fourth inning against C.C. Sabathia, who was unable to prevent the Yankees from getting swept in a postseason series for the first time in 32 years.

“We did it,” Cabrera said. “It's an unbelievable feeling. ... Four more wins, guys. Four more wins.”

Detroit starter Max Scherzer did not give up any hits in the first five innings against a New York starting lineup that was again without Alex Rodriguez, who came in late as a pinch hitter.

Austin Jackson added a solo shot in the seventh for Detroit, and Peralta hit another homer an inning later.

The game ended with first baseman Prince Fielder, Detroit's prized offseason acquisition, gleefully calling off his teammates to catch a pop-up for the final out.

In St. Louis, starting pitcher Adam Wainwright was in command for seven innings to steer the defending World Series champions to victory.

Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Yadier Molina each had two RBIs as St. Louis racked up 12 hits, ending an offensive slump that had seen them hit at a .198 average in the opening three games.

Giants ace Tim Lincecum struggled, giving up four runs and lasting only 4-2/3 innings.

In Friday's Game 5, Lance Lynn will start for St. Louis against San Francisco's Barry Zito.

Detroit won its 11th American League pennant and first since 2006. The Tigers have five days off before the World Series starts on Wednesday.

New York heads home to face unpleasant questions about its future following a postseason of awful hitting, benched stars and veterans showing the wear and tear of age. Rodriguez, the US$275 million third baseman, was out of the starting lineup for the third time in the playoffs. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera could only watch following season-ending injuries.

Without a World Series title since 1984, Detroit lost to Texas in last year's ALCS but signed Fielder in the offseason. The excitement of that bold move subsided a bit when the Tigers struggled to a 26-32 start in the AL Central, but they overtook the Chicago White Sox in the final 10 days of the regular season and won the division with an 88-74 record, matching the Cardinals for the fewest wins among the 10 playoff teams.

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The Detroit Tigers celebrate in the locker room after securing a spot in the World Series. (AFP/AP)

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