Yankees 1, Tigers 1
Game 1: Yankees 9, Tigers 3
Game 2: Tigers 5, Yankees 3
Tonight, 8:07: Yankees (Sabathia, 19-8, 3.00) at Tigers (Verlander, 24-5, 2.40)
Tuesday, 8:37: Yankees (Burnett, 11-11, 5.15) at Tigers (Porcello, 14-9, 4.75)
Thursday, 8:37: Tigers (Fister, 11-13, 2.83) at Yankees (TBA) *
All games on TBS. * If necessary
NEW YORK — Jose Valverde and the Tigers nearly let this one slip away.
Instead, they're on solid footing with ace Justin Verlander set to start back home at Comerica Park tonight.
Detroit and its excitable closer held off the Yankees' furious rain-soaked rally in the ninth inning and beat New York 5-3 on Sunday, evening the best-of-five AL Division Series at 1.
Down 5-1, the Yankees scored twice in the ninth and had a chance to win it after catcher Alex Avila lost his balance on the slick on-deck circle while chasing Curtis Granderson's two-out foul popup.
"It's tough to win games here, especially in the playoffs," Avila said. "You get what you can and get ready for the next game and that's all you can think about."
After his pop landed untouched, Granderson walked. With two on, Robinson Cano came to the plate.
Cano, who hit a grand slam and had six RBIs as the Yankees won the opener, wiped away raindrops from his helmet while Valverde tried to get a good grip.
With the crowd roaring, Cano hit a routine ground ball to end it.
"All of a sudden, against anybody — but particularly against a team like them with the short porch in rightfield — it was not a good feeling," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "But it worked out okay."
Tigers starter Max Scherzer pitched no-hit ball into the sixth before Cano blooped an opposite-field single to left.
Miguel Cabrera's two-run homer in the first off Freddy Garcia gave Scherzer an early edge, and the Tigers took a 4-0 lead into the eighth.
Granderson hit a solo homer off former Ray Joaquin Benoit in the eighth. Pretty soon, the rain — and all the drama — filled Yankee Stadium.
"We proved that we can compete. (Today) is going to be a different story," Benoit said. "We go home, we're going to play in our home ballpark, which is a little bit more fair."
The Yankees lost three of four this year at Detroit and are 22-25 at Comerica Park since it opened in 2000. It's one of only two AL stadiums where New York has a losing record.
"The mentality here is everything is high, we feel good, and we just lost a tough one here today," said Nick Swisher, who homered on Valverde's first pitch.
Making his postseason debut, Scherzer, 27, excelled. He was lifted for Benoit with a 4-0 lead after allowing a walk and a single to Jorge Posada to open the seventh inning as ominous clouds settled over the ballpark.
"I had confidence I was going to pitch well," Scherzer said. "I was just very relaxed and was able to slow everything down and it allowed me to pitch my game."