NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 02: Magglio Ordonez #30 of the Detroit Tigers hits a single in the sixth inning of during Game Two of the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on October 2, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Late Yankees Rally Falls Short In Game 2, Tigers Even Series 1-1

Jose Valverde made things a little spicy in the ninth, but he and the Tigers hung on for a 5-3 Game 2 victory to send the series to Detroit all tied up.

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Yankees vs. Tigers, Game 2: Highlights From The Live-Blog

The ALDS matchup between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers has already been a bit odd, thanks to the rain on Friday that threw off the schedule. On Sunday, the rain returned, and nearly cost the Tigers a shot at the win after Alex Avila slipped on the on-deck circle in the ninth inning, just as the Yankees were mounting their comeback. What could've been a dear mistake ended up being a footnote, though, as the Tigers evened the series with a 5-3 Game 2 win.

Below are a few of the highlights from Sunday's live-blog.

The Tigers got Sunday's game started on the right foot in the top of the first, when Miguel Cabrera went deep to right. To get the full experience of the following blockquote, I wholeheartedly recommend you read the update it came from.

Miguel Cabrera got a fastball and sliced it over the right-field fence, just a few rows into the seats. This wasn't a huge surprise, considering Cabrera's one of the greatest hitters on the planet, and hit six home runs to the opposite field this season.

And surprise! Max Scherzer had something going through four innings. That something was a no-hitter. It also didn't last, but it was fun for a while!

But the fact of the matter is that, four innings in, the Yankees are still searching for their first hit. They looked to have Scherzer on the ropes in the first when he walked two straight guys and fell behind a third 3-and-0, but since then he's been outstanding, retiring ten in a row.

The Tigers added insurance in the sixth, tacking on two more runs to push their lead to 4-0, which was good because Scherzer's no-hitter wasn't going to last forever. And in the sixth, the no-hitter came to an end, but Scherzer did make it out of his start both alive and unscathed.

Don't feel too bad for Max Scherzer. By the time he escaped the inning with no damage done, he'd thrown 97 pitches and wasn't going to throw a no-hitter anyway. We can expect the parade of Detroit relievers to begin in the seventh, and this game's not nearly over yet.

After walking Nick Swisher and giving up a single to Jorge Posada in the bottom of the seventh, Scherzer's day was done. Joaquin Benoit was given the ball and he delivered, getting out of the inning unscathed.

Curtis Granderson hit a solo home run in the eighth to cut the Tigers' lead to 4-1, but that was all the Yankees would get as Benoit retired the next three batters to end the inning. Jose Valverde came on to pitch the ninth, and you'd think the Yankees would've been dead in the water. But not so!

Home run
Triple
Walk
Sac fly
Out
Walk

As Jeff Sullivan pointed out, this was what the first six batters did. Robinson Cano came to the plate with the chance to win it, but after a wild start to the inning, Valverde buckled down and closed out the game. The Tigers hung on to win, 4-3, and head back to Detroit with the series even at one game apiece.

For more on this game, check out the rest of the live-blog and Jeff Sullivan's recap.

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Max Scherzer Superb, Tigers Clip Yankees To Even ALDS

Max Scherzer threw six scoreless innings, Miguel Cabrera homered and drove in three runs, and the Tigers have tied the Yankees at one game apiece.

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Yankees On Board, But Tigers Still Up 3

If the Yankees come back in the ninth inning, will anyone be around to see it?

Judging from our TV pictures, it looks like most of the fans who left their seats during a seventh-inning downpour just kept on heading home, with their club trailing 4-0.

And without more than a smattering of fans in the stands, will anyone believe it if the Yankees do come back?

After all, during the regular season the Tigers went 77-0 in games they led after seven innings. Of course, nothing lasts forever. But a four-run deficit is huge against almost any club, and the Tigers' bullpen is better than average.

Curtis Granderson did get things started with a leadoff home run in the eighth, as Joaquín Benoit -- who'd pitched brilliantly to escape a seventh-inning jam -- left a fastball over the plate and Granderson, as he's done so many times in 2011, crushed it.

But Benoit recovered to retire Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. And in the ninth, the Yankees will need at least three runs against José Valverde, who hasn't blown a save yet in 2011.

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Joaquin Benoit Escapes Jam As Rain Starts To Fall

Ahead 4-0, the Tigers didn't score in their half of the seventh. But then, the Tigers didn't need to score in their half of the seventh. They just needed to keep the Yankees from scoring four runs before recording nine outs.

They're a third of the way there.

Max Scherzer resumed his start in the bottom of the seventh and immediately got into trouble. Nick Swisher walked on six pitches, and Jorge Posada followed with a sharply-hit grounder up the middle.

That brought Jim Leyland out of the Detroit dugout, and he replaced Scherzer with eighth-inning man Joaquin Benoit. The eighth-inning man in the seventh inning? It's almost as if Leyland sensed that this was a critical moment.

And Benoit delivered. Russell Martin knocked a can of corn to right-center. Eric Chavez then whiffed at three straight pitches, and Benoit froze Derek Jeter to escape the jam. Jeter disputed the call, but it was really the perfect pitch:

Jeterpitch_medium

A changeup right on the edge. It doesn't get much better in a 1-and-2 count.

It's important to note that rain started to fall while the Yankees were batting. Hard rain. Possibly distracting rain. Who knows if the rain bothered Chavez and Jeter while they were trying to hit? But the game went on, Chavez and Jeter struck out, and the rain has now all but passed. Ahead four in the eighth, the Tigers are sitting pretty. They've led 77 games this season after seven innings, and won all 77.

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Scherzer Loses No-Hitter On Bloop Hit, Still Leads 4-0

With his Tigers taking a 4-0 lead in the sixth and his pitcher throwing a no-hitter, Jim Leyland shifted to defense-first, replacing third baseman Wilson Betemit with Brandon Inge and right fielder Magglio Ordonez with Don Kelly.

Sensible moves, both.

However, Leyland apparently forgot about Delmon Young, who 1) has made three outs today on six pitches, and 2) is fairly well-known as a butcher in left field.

Wouldn't you know it? With one out, Robinson Cano lifted a pop fly into short left field, and Young couldn't make the play.

Don't feel too bad for Max Scherzer. By the time he escaped the inning with no damage done, he'd thrown 97 pitches and wasn't going to throw a no-hitter anyway. We can expect the parade of Detroit relievers to begin in the seventh, and this game's not nearly over yet.

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Miguel Cabrera, Tigers Add On Against Yankees In Sixth

The Yankees have been held without a hit by Max Scherzer through five innings. However, in the bottom of the fifth, Scherzer walked one guy and hit another, and elevated his pitch count to 82. There are signs that the Yankees might soon get themselves on the scoreboard.

So it was imperative for the Tigers to add to their 2-0 lead, and add to their 2-0 lead they did in the top of the sixth. Austin Jackson led off with a routine grounder to short, but Derek Jeter threw low to first base, allowing Jackson to reach safely. Three pitches later, Magglio Ordonez ripped a single - his third of the game - to put runners on the corners with nobody out.

Delmon Young subsequently struck out on four pitches and looked terrible the whole time, but thankfully for Jim Leyland, Delmon Young is followed by Miguel Cabrera, and Miguel Cabrera is one of the best hitters in the world. Cabrera went down and got an offspeed pitch and lined it into center for an RBI single to extend the lead to 3-0.

The Tigers weren't finished, either. Victor Martinez then hit a sharp grounder up the middle past a diving Robinson Cano and into center for another run-scoring single. That was the hit that forced Freddy Garcia out of the game, as he was replaced by Boone Logan.

Logan struck out the next two batters to end the inning, but the Tigers successfully turned a 2-0 lead into a 4-0 lead, and the Yankees are running out of time to get going. They might consider getting a hit, first.

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Yankees vs. Tigers: Max Scherzer's Pitched 5 No-Hit Innings

Max Scherzer posted a 4.43 ERA in 2011.

Max Scherzer has pitched five no-hit innings against the New York Yankees in the Tigers' biggest game of the year.

These things are not necessarily in opposition to one another. Scherzer didn't give up a lot of hits this season, or a lot of walks. With 174 strikeouts in 195 innings this season, he's obviously capable of pitching effectively, and occasionally pitching brilliantly. To say nothing of his mid-90s fastball.

Scherzer didn't pitch a shutout this season, and isn't likely to pitch one today, not having already thrown 82 in five innings.

His second- and third-best starts all season came against the White Sox; in April he shut them out for eight innings on four hits, and in September he shut them out for seven innings on five hits.

Scherzer's best start in 2011?

On the 4th of May, Scherzer held the New York Yankees scoreless for eight innings on four hits and two walks, and he struck out nine Yankees.

That was in Comerica Park, though, where home runs go to die.

It's still fairly early. But if Scherzer can keep the Yankees off the board for two more innings, he'll have saved his very best start for his most important start.

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Max Scherzer Working On No-Hitter!

Okay, so it's pretty unlikely. These are the Yankees. In Yankee Stadium. It's been only four innings. In the first of which Scherzer needed to throw 27 pitches. Odds are Max Scherzer isn't going to throw a playoff no-hitter today, or even end up anywhere particularly close.

But the fact of the matter is that, four innings in, the Yankees are still searching for their first hit. They looked to have Scherzer on the ropes in the first when he walked two straight guys and fell behind a third 3-and-0, but since then he's been outstanding, retiring ten in a row.

The bottom of the fourth was particularly impressive. After Freddy Garcia worked through the Tigers in the upper half, Scherzer whiffed Robinson Cano with a full count high fastball. He induced an Alex Rodriguez ground out, and then whiffed Mark Teixeira with a full count low changeup. Scherzer's always been a strikeout-first pitcher, and he's starting to show that today.

In this ballpark, the score can change in the blink of an eye, but the Tigers have to be feeling pretty good about where they stand at the moment.

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Freddy Garcia, Max Scherzer Get All Settled In

Freddy Garcia encountered some troubles in the top of the first, when he allowed a two-run homer to Miguel Cabrera that put the Tigers in front. Max Scherzer went on to encounter some troubles in the bottom of the first, when he lost his command for a spell and had to work out of a jam.

Well, it looks like both starting pitchers have put their struggles behind them. Here's the event sequence since the start of the second inning:

Out
Out
Out
Out
Out
Out
Out
Out
Single
Out
Out
Out
Out

It was 2-0 Tigers after one, and now it's 2-0 Tigers after three, and the Yankees remain without a hit. Brett Gardner nearly came up with one in the bottom of the third when he rolled a slow grounder, but he slid headfirst into first base after legging it out, and nobody who slides headfirst into first base deserves a hit. Gardner was called out, and he was out, because he never touched the bag.

Anyway. Top four, now. With pitchers like Garcia and Scherzer, the score could change in a hurry, but there are presently no indications that someone's about to light up the scoreboard.

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Max Scherzer Escapes First-Inning Jam

After one full inning, it's still Tigers 2, Yankees 0 despite a real jam for Detroit in the bottom of the first.

Derek Jeter led off for the Yankees and sent a drive deep into center field, but Austin Jackson tracked it down. Next, Max Scherzer struck out Curtis Granderson on a change-up that cut the strike zone in half. But then Scherzer walked Robinson Cano on four pitches, and he walked Alex Rodriguez, too. And fell behind Mark Teixeira, 3-and-0.

Does Scherzer have poor control, generally? Not really. He walked 56 hitters this season in 195 innings.

But Scherzer did give up 29 home runs, and you couldn't blame him for being concerned with a) the Yankees' power, and b) Yankee Stadium's cozy dimensions. Jim Leyland went to some effort to set up his rotation so Doug Fister could pitch Game 2 in Yankee Stadium, and Scherzer Game 3 back in Detroit's spacious home. But the suspension of Game 1 changed Leyland's plans, shifting Fister to the conclusion of Game 1 and Scherzer to Game 2.

And Leyland couldn't really switch up and throw ground-ball pitcher Rick Porcello today, because Porcello threw six innings against the Indians just four days ago.

Leyland hasn't complained, but the rain probably hurt him more than Joe Girardi.

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Yankees vs. Tigers: Miguel Cabrera Hits 2-Run Homer In 1st

With all apologies to Alex Avila, the Detroit Tigers employ one great hitter: Miguel Cabrera. But wait, we're getting ahead of our story ...

Austin Jackson led off Game 2 and struck out, which wasn't a huge surprise considering Jackson struck out 181 times during the regular season.

Magglio Ordonez followed with a line-drive single into left field, which wasn't a huge surprise considering Ordoñez entered the game with a .320 lifetime batting average against his fellow Venezuelan.

Delmon Young followed with a pop fly into short left field, which wasn't a huge surprise considering Young isn't a particularly good hitter and shouldn't be batting third for a good team.

Miguel Cabrera got a fastball and sliced it over the right-field fence, just a few rows into the seats. This wasn't a huge surprise, considering Cabrera's one of the greatest hitters on the planet, and hit six home runs to the opposite field this season.

Tigers 2, Yankees 0

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Yankees vs. Tigers: Jim Leyland's Game 2 Lineup

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland has released his lineup for today's Division Series Game 2:

1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Magglio Ordonez, RF
3. Delmon Young, LF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Victor Martinez**, DH
6. Alex Avila*, C
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Wilson Betemit**, 3B
9. Ramon Santiago**, 2B

Three switch-hitters and one lefty against Yankees right-hander Freddy Garcia ... and does anyone else think it's just a little strange that Leyland's No. 3 hitter against a right-handed pitcher is right-handed-hitting Delmon Young, who just a couple of months ago seemed on the verge of washing out of the major leagues.

Young's showed some power since joining the Tigers at the trade deadline, but his OBP with Detroit is only .298 and his slugging percentage is lower than Peralta's.

Hey, maybe Leyland knows something we don't know (in fact, he almost certainly does). But it's hard to imagine a worse No. 3 hitter, on a good team anyway, than Delmon Young.

Granted, the Tigers aren't exactly swimming in lefty-hitting outfielders who can hit. But Joe Girardi won't have to think real hard about which relief pitcher to use, with those four righties at the top of the Tigers' lineup.

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Yankees vs. Tigers: Joe Girardi's Game 2 Lineup

Joe Girardi has published his lineup for Game 2 of the Division Series between his New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers, and it's unsurprisingly surprise-free:

1. Derek Jeter SS
2. Curtis Granderson* CF
3. Robinson Cano* 2B
4. Alex Rodriguez 3B
5. Mark Teixeira** 1B
6. Nick Swisher** RF
7. Jorge Posada** DH
8. Russell Martin C
9. Brett Gardner* LF

Nothing to see here, folks. No, it doesn't make any sense to bat Jeter leadoff and Gardner ninth with right-hander Max Scherzer starting for the Tigers. Yes, it would probably make more sense to bat Gardner leadoff and Jeter ninth, and maybe push Teixeira up one slot to cleanup.

But Girardi hasn't been optimizing his lineup all season, so why start now? The Yankees did finish second in the American League in scoring and third in road scoring, so somebody's doing something right. And with all those switch-hitters, it won't be easy for Jim Leyland to play the match-up game with his relievers if Scherzer gets knocked out before the seventh inning. Which he probably will.

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Yankees Vs. Tigers, ALDS Game 2 Preview: Time, TV Schedule, Starting Pitchers And More

The Tigers try to even the series against the Yankees Sunday afternoon, throwing Max Scherzer to match up against Freddy Garcia.

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